How about the MMA? Do you think they are a worthwhile group? I'm still waiting for their promised tax reduction plan. They lied about that in order to keep the money pipeline from the taxpayers flowing. Along with Peter Mills they're about as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.
[quote="Dan Billings"]..A majority of the seats in the House and Senate have been held by a Republican in either the current Legislature or the last.[/quote]
On what planet?
Do the math. If Republicans held all the seats that they held in the last Legislature, plus added the new districts that they won last November, they would have a majority right now in both houses.
I have had conversations with several different towns that belong to MMA. Many did not agree with the MMA's backing of the TABOR initiative. However, what I kept hearing was they did not want to leave the MMA because the MMA offers an insurance policy for the municipality. When these towns are offered the insurance policy, they are all put together on a group rate. Kind of like you would have for a company's group insurance policy to cover the employees for health insurance. Generally, the more employees you have the lower your group rate and that works the same for towns, the more towns that sign on to this group policy the lower the rates. These rates save the towns several thousand dollars a year. One town told me that it saves them darn near $50,000 a year. That is not small potatoes. I can only imagine what it would save Biddeford, Sanford, or even Portland and other larger towns and cities. So, the MMA does do some good for its members.
PM - that's the carrot. The stick is the real problem.
TM - good for you. A man of his word is an honorable man.
Perhaps now that you'll be on the "other side," you'll begin to see the MMA machinations for what they truly are. Just wait until TABOR II really starts to make headway.
pmrmsm, that's the same reason why countless state employees seem willing to tolerate all of the BS from their union MSEA-SEIU. Their "income protection" plan is clearly their Number 1 benefit and reason why people have stayed with them.
The group insurance rates are a teaser to put up the crap and put up with the stances and how the MMA has said that they represent the members of the MMA when a lot of the members do not agree with the stance the MMA has taken. This causes some of the members to make their position known that they are members of the MMA and do not agree with the stance the MMA has taken.
[quote="hatchcar"] I'm interested in knowing the details.[/quote]
Here are a few details related to the SEIU's anti-TABOR assistance, but there are many more examples:
[u]CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS BY SEIU IN 2006 ALONE[/u]
Random selection of six (6) states
1. SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
$64,700 in 2006 (for CA)
[b]2. SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
$165,000 in 2006 (for ME) ** See Details Below ** [/b]
3. SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
$5,000 in 2006 (for MI)
4. SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
$38,500 in 2006 (for NY)
5. SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
$15,902 in 2006 (for TX)
6. SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
$351,746 in 2006 (for WA)
--> $ 640,848.00(+) spent by SEIU in just six randomly chosen states for 2006 alone.
State at a Glance: Maine 2006 > Contributors > SERVICE EMPLOYEES/SEIU
Total Given to Date: $165,000 (3 records)[/b]
Address: WASHINGTON, DC 20036
Breakdown by Political Affiliation
Party Counts Total % of Overall
[b]Democrat 1 $25,000 15.15% [/b]
Republican 0 $0 0.00%
Third Party 0 $0 0.00%
[b]Ballot Measures 2 $140,000 84.85% [/b]
Party Committee Party State Amount Date
MAINE DEMOCRATIC PARTY DEMOCRAT ME $25,000 06/27/2006
[i]** No surprise by their donation for the democrats **[/i]
Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees [i]** Anti-TABOR support **[/i]
Total number of records: 2
CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT MAINES PUBLIC SCHOOLS QUESTION 1 CON
[b]$100,000 10/03/2006 [/b]
CITIZENS WHO SUPPORT MAINES PUBLIC SCHOOLS QUESTION 1 CON
[b]$40,000 10/25/2006 [/b]
Funny how towns ask you to "support local merchants" even if it costs more, yet they are all too willing to give their insurance dollars to a hired gun operator that lobbies for more taxes for them and everyone else. Imagine how low the insurance premiums would be if they just did that, and no political advocacy.
Besides, I have it on good authority that independent insurance agents were competitive with the MMA, but closed-door selection processes pick MMA for obvious reasons.
I guess this begs the question...How many of the towns that came out for TABOR cancelled their affiliation with the MMA at their annual town meeting?
How about the MMA? Do you think they are a worthwhile group? I'm still waiting for their promised tax reduction plan. They lied about that in order to keep the money pipeline from the taxpayers flowing. Along with Peter Mills they're about as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest.[/quote]
MMA is a very worthwhile group. Most of you on here only see the lobbyist side of MMA....it's much bigger than that. They offer training workshops, legal advice, group insurance, HR services, employment searches. Don't judge the organization because you disagree with their effective lobbying strategies. I can support TABOR II and still stay a member of MMA.
As for the towns that supported TABOR I...I haven't heard of any great fallout from MMA and dropped membership.
MMA is a worthwhile group that lied about their intentions to champion tax relief for Mainers so that TABOR could be defeated and thier money spigot wouldn't be shut off. Just one more bunch of pigs at the trough.
See, TM, that's the thing. "Effective lobbying" is something other than what I've seen - the MMA actively encourages and teaches their members to prevaricate, position information, and hoodwink the voters.
I've seen it first-hand in my own town.
If they were above-board, and honest, it would be fine.
They have a captive set of patrons, and zero accountability. They are, for all intents and purposes, a tax upon every Maine resident.
We could always try to set up a competing enterprise.
[quote][b]The 'TABOR Beast' is coming to life again[/b]
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Man, what a great way to shift taxes to those pesky tourists -- the Maine House voted to raise the fees on car registrations, vanity plates and trailer registrations.
Picture this: It is the end of a horror movie. The giant TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights) Beast has been slain by the Democrats, Maine Municipal Association and the Maine Chamber of Commerce. But wait, I think I just saw it move. Yes, yes! The little finger is twitching. Oh my God! [/quote]
[url=http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/letters/4023690.html]More Here :D[/url]
[quote="WatchDog Maine"]We could always try to set up a competing enterprise.[/quote]
Start it up!
I hear rumors that some towns are doing just that - investigating their own insurance, etc.
Naran- Just an FYI in my view this past election year TABOR and Republicans went hand in hand...
We needed TABOR and Republicans!!! We should have rode it alot more than we did...
I was happy to support TABOR and would do it agian in a heart beat!
[quote="Naran"]I hear rumors that some towns are doing just that - investigating their own insurance, etc.[/quote]
My town belongs to MMA, but we purchase our P&C insurance from the private market. Nothing stopping towns from doing that.
[quote="Town Manager"]MMA is a very worthwhile group. Most of you on here only see the lobbyist side of MMA....it's much bigger than that. They offer training workshops, legal advice...[/quote]
They are a very worthwhile group as far as YOU are concerned.
Here is the explanation: "The MMA is to town officials as the AFL-CIO is to workers."
In other words, the MMA sides against taxpayers and voters to side with town managers, town councils (only when the majority of said council asks for help), and town attorneys.
There is nothing wrong with that. That is, in fact, why they were created. But I object to local government officials trying to pretend they represent us all. They do NOT.
As a taxpayer and voter, I find them entirely useless and a colossal waste of tax monies. Furthermore, the average taxpayer -- who, as we know, does not pay attention, but rather believes the last thing s/he hears -- has been duped by local politicians and government officials into believing "the MMA is your friend."
The solution to MMA is to force them to divest their group insurance and benefits programs from their lobbying component.
If towns could get just the benefit's (at a competitive price) - would they also glam onto the lobbying stuff (high priced shenanigans)? I've heard legislator's comments after the two primary MMA antagonists exit the room. I don't think their activities are really helping their clients as much as someone else could.
I will talk to some people about starting something up. It will take a while to pull that kind of project together.
This sounds like a great idea. If this means giving an alternative to MMA, I would endorse it and might even try to help in some way. I have 20 years experience in retail, if we could reach out to not just the municipalities but the business industry as well, this would give them an alternative to the Chamber of Commerce.
Don't forget that one of the most important things that MMA helped accomplish was the issue of mandates. It now takes a 2/3s vote of the legislature to impose additional costs on towns. I've seen the MMA lobbyists go toe to toe with legislators of both parties, forcing them to either alter or abandon bills that would have cost towns more $$, because legislators know that MMA can usually muster enough votes to block a mandate. Their lobbyists have saved all of us plenty of money.
And don't forget.....the MMA supported Mary Adams' efforts to repeal the uniform property tax!
Correction, TM. You are wrong about MMA supporting Mary Adams in the repeal effort.
The Maine Municipal Association were termites in the woodwork back then too. John Salisbury (who headed MMA) was on the committee which came up with LD 1994, a radical school finance law which contained the state property tax. It was the towns hurt by the tax which caused them to back down. MMA took a poll and that poll showed more towns wanted to repeal the state property tax than keep it. At that point, they at least became neutral, but they were never any help to me.
This was 30 years ago and the talk by members of getting out and forming another organization was far stronger than it is today.
Mary - good to hear from you!
TM - sending you a box of virtual Band-Aids.
Without Tabor this will cost us more in school budgets, our local tax bills, and our county tax bills, and lets not forget our money that goes to Augusta. I saw my property tax bill jump from $1200 a year to $2400 a year. It jumped so high that we had to sell that house and it was only 1/8 of an acre. We now have a house on 35 acres of land it only costs us $1200 and this was after the property tax increase. The school budget is not going to jump much this year as the superindenant only purposed a .04% increase and of course it passed. However, our county, state, and local bills are going to jump again. I went to the annual town meeting this year and we voted down some very costly items. However this did not stop those people at the county level demanding more money from us especially with the screw up in the books by the previous administration by, well lets just say a lot of money.
People like, John Sylvester of Alfred needs to go. He is on the finance committee of York County. He is the guy that was riding his horse around the property of York County Superior Court House. I realize he was doing an ad against TABOR, but this was totally inappropriate and there many others that felt the same way. Many of those that thought it was inappropriate were also those that were against TABOR. He has blocked some much needed items and has heard some of the cost cutting measures, but proposed and voted to increase these items instead. Because he is the chairperson of this committee. He, in my opinion, is the reason for our county tax bills rising so much. I don't think he has the right to increase an expense because he disagrees with the amount of the expense. The department heads propose their budgets and say they can operate certain line items at a certain cost and I don't feel he has the right to increase what they propose they can operate at. He is supposed to say either yea or nay to the line items not make changes. While I saw this happen only a couple of times this year, last year was way more than a few times.
[quote="MaryAdams"]Correction, TM. You are wrong about MMA supporting Mary Adams in the repeal effort.
This was 30 years ago and the talk by members of getting out and forming another organization was far stronger than it is today.[/quote]
Mary, I take your word. Naran, thanks for the band aids.
Glad to meet you Mary Adams. I look to forward to having a conversation with you in person one of these days. Will you be at the meeting Friday or Saturday?
There's a lot of work to be done. I believe that the Governor is going to try to pre-empt any efforts at a revised tabor by introducing a faux spending cap bill with lots of publicity. Not unlike many ideas coming from his administration, this one will be all about appearances and contain no substance. The "people" will buy it.