Thursday, October 26, 2006

Are Maine's taxes too high--Chandler Woodcock thinks so

As they say, “all politics is local.” As such, our local politics just got a bit more interesting when it comes to our four-way gubernatorial race. Readers of this blog have some context of the nature of our race, at least in terms of the Republican candidate, the bow tied tax crusader, creationist and now we find out, tax dodger.

One of our three major local television stations (and yes, we do have flush toilets and even TV), the ABC affiliate, WMTW-TV Channel 8 reported on their 6 pm newscast that Woodcock has 10 liens placed on his Farmington home over the past nine years. Since 1997, through last year, 2005, Woodcock has experienced tax difficulties. In 2005, the Maine Revenue Service placed a lien on his home for unpaid income taxes from 2003. Additionally, Woodcock has also had difficulty paying his municipal sewer charges. A total of $2,686 was owed to the town of Farmington, with the largest outstanding bill being for $900 and the smallest for $49. Maybe that’s why Woodcock has been so adamant about cutting taxes? We all thought his was a philosophical argument—the typical supply-side conservative at work. Instead, maybe he figured that if he was elected governor, he could find a way out from under his tax difficulties?

Like all good Republicans, when caught with their hand in the scandal cookie jar, Woodcock’s campaign manager, Chris Jackson, trotted out the “timing question,” as in “the timing is more than ironic.”

Jackson claimed that this release of tax information on his candidate was likely a dirty trick by an opponent. Oh yeah! Well, try this on for size.

The story actually broke, not as a result of any investigative work being done by Maine’s crack reporters at one of our supposed award-winning dailies, but as a result of comments that were posted on the Kennebec Journal website. On both October 14th and 25th, readers posted specific information in the comments section about the liens on Woodcock’s home. The first one was posted in response to a letter to the editor in support of the folksy candidate for governor. Both included information about the liens and directed readers to the Franklin County Registry of Deeds website. This is public information and it shows how poorly most journalists (dare I call them that—maybe scribes might be a better term!) do their job. It would seem that public records in a public registry would be a good place to start in investigating a candidate’s background, particularly when running for governor of the state, at a crucial juncture in our state’s history.

Stoic, rather than jocular at this development, Woodcock had this to offer. “I take it for what it is,” in speaking with the Lewiston Sun Journal. “It’s politics. It’s not the politics that I like or practice, but its politics.”

The politics that Woodcock and his fellow conservatives practice is the kind that guts services at the beckon call of their rich benefactors, all in the name of lower taxes. His party and stripe also dictate morality via legislative fiat, maybe because they live so close to the reality of man’s inclination to do wrong.

The Woodcock revelation is just one more case of Republicans saying one thing and doing another, ala Mark Foley. Better yet, Maine's own history of anti-tax support has come from some fairly dubious corners. Does anyone remember convicted felon, Carol Palesky, and the last anti-tax referendum?

I’m sorry that Chandler Woodcock can’t pay his taxes. Maybe in his case, they are too high. However, many more of us who struggle to make a living in a state that needs a more creative solution than mere tax cuts, gallantly suck it up and send off our checks from our meager funds and are offended when others don’t particularly, someone running for governor.


Rikki said...

Wow! I'm eager to see how this shakes out, when and if the major papers pick up on it. I haven't followed the endorsements, so I'm unsure if such revelations would conflict with the pride of any of the papers' editorial boards. In any case, it appears this has the chance to be another triumph for the bloggosphere.

Incidentally, if you find a solution for the property tax "challenge," let me know. I've tried to trace it back to its root, with the aid of the great work done in preparing the Brookings Institute's report on Charting Maines Future.

Even with this, sadly, neither this fine paper nor this fine paper have helped me in charting a start-point. One thing's for sure -- TABOR and Chandler Woodcock ain't it ....

Jim said...

Woodcock's chances seem to be fading. I'm curious to see if this opens an opportunity for an independent (Merrill or LaMarche) to finish second.

Not a big fan of Baldacci, but the hard right deserve some comeuppance for running the ultra-conservative, over the more moderate and innately better qualified, Peter Mills.