Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Best Government Money Can Buy Is Not Very Good

Mark Roman posted this photo to facebook with the comment:
"In the statehouse hall. Asked her if I could hire a lobbyist for my cause.
She told me I would have to pay. Probably $5,000 and up."

My husband went to our state capitol yesterday as a citizen lobbyist opposed to LD1781, the tax giveaway bill for General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works. By citizen lobbyist I mean that Mark was unpaid, funding his own travel expenses, and without the wherewithall to wine and dine legislators. 

He met up with the lady above who was tabling in halls thronged with people whose shoes cost more than many Maine families make in a week.

As reported by Maria Villenueve in the Portland Press Herald last week, Maine lobbyists more than doubled their income in 2017. Among the biggest spenders on lobbying was BIW, whose parent company General Dynamics has deep, deep pockets.

Bruce Gagnon lobbying Taxation Committee co-chair Rep. Ryan Tipping
There were several other citizen lobbyists on hand including Bruce Gagnon on the 16th day of a hunger strike until the bill is defeated or passed. (The bill was tabled yesterday by the Taxation Committee yet again with the explanation that the Maine Revenue Service still didn't understand the amendments BIW wrote to make the bill more palatable.)

Cynthia Howard lobbying Taxation Committee co-chair Sen. Dana Dow

Many of those present have joined Bruce's fast in solidarity; there are 27 people now listed on a calendar that supporter Mary Kate Small is keeping. 

Also, many of those present had been arrested outside BIW protesting at "christenings" of warships -- see here and here for a complete list of those names. John Morris (left in the photo above) is one of many, and Peter Morgan (right) has been a dedicated supporter during the arrests and subsequent trials.

You can read Kevin Miller's coverage of yesterday's lobbying effort in this Portland Press Herald article, "Controversial bill to give BIW tax credits stalls in State House, extending foe's food strike."

To support the resistance to LD1781 you can:
  • sign a petition here
  • contact your own legislators using this handy tool
  • use the list below to contact the Taxation Committee members and the bill's co-sponsors,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Photo credits: Martha Spiess, Peter Woodruff and Mark Roman

1 comment:

loveEliz said...

Thank you Lisa, This lobby money cancer has affected all our state houses across the country. Amazing that there is a dedicated lobby table openly set up in the halls of the Maine Statehouse where one can hire a lobbyist for "$5,000 and up" So inspiring to see the organizing in Maine. My best to the fasters with such courage against the well paid sharks in fancy shoes.