This is House Republican Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
The 131st Legislature has now officially been sworn in, and we started our work on day one. I want to congratulate those who won, and salute the families and loved ones that attended the opening ceremony.
The composition of the Legislature is essentially unchanged. Democrats are in complete control of state government.
This reality was immediately apparent when Governor Mills presented a $474 million spending bill for immediate passage on our desks before committee assignments have been made, or legislators have been assigned seats in the House chamber.
The House has 68 new members, most of whom have no legislative experience.
The lack of a public hearing was a concern of many, but so was the desire to return taxpayer money to those struggling to heat their homes and pay bills.
This is only the first of many pressing issues that the 131st Legislature will need to address in 2023.
Maine voters left Democrats in control. The ball is in their court.
House Republicans look forward to reviewing their plans to address:
We don’t expect the Biden administration to reverse the oil and gas policies that caused this inflation.
We do expect a thorough review of the state’s energy policy and a willingness to reverse policies that made things worse.
Just because Maine Democrats maintain complete control of state government doesn’t mean that people are o.k. with paying $5 to $6 dollars for heating oil, $4 dollars for gasoline, or grocery bills that are the highest in 40 years. We should not accept this reduction in our standard of living in order to promote an agenda that does not serve all Americans.
Almost all Maine people are not o.k. with this, and people of average or below average means are getting crushed.
House Republicans hear their cries, feel their pain and have been willing to participate in legislation designed to help, and willing partners in making changes to policies that are driving up costs.
When we can work together, we will. The Governor and Democrats should not expect House Republicans to remain silent as things go from bad to worse.
Expect us to be pro-family, pro worker, and mindful that not everyone can pay $65,000 for an electric car, or send their kids to a private school.
Also expect Republicans to call for structural tax reform that stops the over collection of taxpayers funds that takes too much money from people, then sends it back as a gift from government.
House Republicans will approach the legislative session with an open mind and a willingness to work on bipartisan solutions to many problems that face us.
This requires that Republican legislators that represent over 400 Maine towns, cities and territories be given a seat at the table. Maine citizens want and expect us to work together for the greater good.
Which brings us back to the Winter Heating Relief Plan that was defeated in the Senate for lack of two-thirds support, and because not enough Senators were present to vote.
House Republicans support Maine families. We will continue to live up to that commitment.
We stand ready to address this issue going forward and are confident that relief will ultimately be approved during the coldest winter months.
We thank Governor Mills for negotiating in good faith with the House Republicans, responding to our calls for more middle class relief, and increasing eligibility to include 91% of Maine taxpayers.
We hope that when we address this issue again in the future, the middle class relief remains in this relief package, the same as last night’s result.
This has been House Republican Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
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