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A Declaration of Fundamental Expectations of the Citizens of Maine


We, citizens of Maine, grateful for our unique heritage and beautiful State, committed to the well-being of our neighbors, and responsible for the life-prospects of our young, believe that the civic health and material prospects of our State and nation are radically de-graded and at-risk. We seek to reverse this decline by identifying its origin and advancing a positive alternative.

COMPLAINT

Decades ago — in the honorable effort to secure civil rights and civil liberties, help for the needy, and protection for America’s environmental majesty — our State and national governments began, at great taxpayer cost, a course of relentless growth and intervention in the lives of citizens with the intent that parts of America’s way of life and beliefs be erased and the rest irremediably altered. Now, knowing no bounds, that instinct of control — incompetent in governance and intolerant in nature — has grown perverse while recklessly fueling discord between Americans of different races and economic situations. It erodes our freedoms while encumbering us with fundamentally illegitimate governance and cultural decay, all aided by a climate of strident political correctness and intimidation that aims to silence people of good-will who disagree. The results include these:

  • Waste of Maine’s Human Capital For forty years, both political parties in Maine pursued policies whose ultimate effect converted our State from a productive, industrial , populated by hard-working, dignified, builders and craftsmen, into a hollowed shell of its former self. As the economy worsened, the State created a culture of dependency intended to dull the decline. Now, nearly one in three Maine residents depends on some form of public aid just to survive.
  • Decline of Lifetime Opportunities Nearly half of births in Maine are to mothers on Medicaid thus ensuring that too many of our future fellow citizens suffer from grievous and avoidable life-difficulties beginning with their first breath.
  • Constraint of Taxes Confiscatory and ill-spent taxes, including its estate tax, have forced a flight of wealth from the State. While other states enjoyed population growth, Maine’s population stagnated and grew poorer. While citizens of all political leanings agree that the total tax burden is far too high, dysfunction in State government prevents reform.
  • Decline of Population Vitality Maine is one of only two states with more deaths than births, an unwitting condemnation of the State and its social and economic climate by its young.
  • Discouragement of Job and Wealth Creation For decades, Maine has been one of the most severely unwelcoming states for businesses. High taxes, overbearing regulatory requirements, and needlessly high energy costs suffocate incipient entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Failure of Adult Responsibility to Maine’s Young Maine’s schools and much of its media increasingly function as gullible purveyors of a petulant sense of grievance and complaint — utterly ignorant and unappreciative of our historical foundations — instead of preparing children to work in a competitive global economy and endowing adults with the information needed to act as citizens in a complex democracy. Primary and secondary education remain unsatisfactory, with too much money for administrative overhead costs and too much power in the hands of union interests. Much of Maine’s media has been a willing accomplice to the State’s decline, compromised by agenda-driven interests and now rightly deprived of public trust. 

A MAINE REVIVAL

This erosion of our civic health and economic values has deprived broad swaths of our population of education, civic compass, and economic opportunity. It has undermined our national character and ability for self-government. Only a docile people, unworthy of their citizenship in a great and free nation, would resign themselves to such decline. We seek, here in Maine, to create an exemplary State where a compassionate but prudent government lets flourish the prosperity, liberty, and instincts of mutual-support of independent citizens. The elements would include these:

  • Education as Preparation for Lifetime Opportunities Maine’s public schools and universities will operate with the sole objective of equipping students with the knowledge and social skills required for becoming informed American citizens and leading productive lives in a global economy. Maine’s educational system and its critical mission will not be governed by political correctness and politicized unions.
  • Prudent and Thrifty Government The core duty of State government being to use the tax dollars it appropriates from citizens only in prudent and beneficial ways, the State will strictly identify and eliminate all spending that is wasteful, duplicative, or with no measurable net good to its citizens and provide a comprehensive annual accounting to citizens on these waste-reduction and spending-justification efforts.
  • Compassionate Help for Truly Needy Maine will implement the most aggressive system of welfare reform in the United States, borrowing from innovative and successful programs nationwide, so as to provide fuller, more humane, and far more effective support to the truly needy and those requiring a hand up and to absolutely no one else.
  • Reduced Tax Burden There will be comprehensive reform of Maine’s tax code leading to substantially lower or no income or estate tax.
  • End of Public Sector Union Influence on Elections Maine’s public-sector unions will be dissolved. Their transfer of union dues — in origin, taxpayer dollars — to politicians who act in their narrow interests and not those of all Maine citizens will cease. So too will its degradation of the essential preconditions of representative democracy.
  • Reasonable Regulatory Climate The State will identify and repeal the many existing regulations that serve no useful purpose and unduly burden already struggling businesses and provide a comprehensive annual accounting to citizens on these efforts.

RESOLUTION
We firmly resolve, and we ask fellow Maine citizens who agree with these propositions and judgments to so resolve, to work relentlessly toward revival of a Maine that conforms to its unique cultural and economic heritage. We will accomplish this through mobilizing at the local level concerned Maine citizens to demand proven and effective change in the areas of economic growth, taxation, education, and government operations that will benefit all Maine residents; through fair scrutiny and exposure of dereliction of civic duty in increasingly unaccountable organizations, including schools and the media; through sponsorship of alternative organs of vital information, including The Maine Wire, in support of an informed democratic process; and through unassailable research and analysis of public policies in Maine to inform those in positions of power so they can restore and extend the heritage of our great State.

An Initiative of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, September 3, 2015
To learn more about this declaration, click here.