Alfond saw the legislative session differently than Representative Cain. "We have gone in reverse," he said. Still, he voted for the budget "because the Appropriations Committee took the governor's extreme, radical budget and made it better. However, this budget is based on the failed economic model of large tax cuts for the wealthy instead of putting more money in the pockets of middle-class Mainers."

What it means for 2012

Back in January Alfond said control of the Legislature in 2012 will go to "whoever really can articulate a plan or policy over the next 18 months." He meant a distinctive, appealing plan to address Maine's problems. (See "Can Maine's Democrats Come Back from the Dead?" by Lance Tapley, January 21.)

The most vital six months of this period, the long session of the 125th Legislature, are over. Even if the Democrats couldn't have done more in restraining the Republicans, they could have distinguished themselves much more from the GOP on economic policies — the policies most important to voters.

The Republicans are crowing they have provided "the largest tax cuts in Maine history" and historic welfare, pension, and health-care reform. And the Democrats helped them do it.

Lance Tapley can be reached at

According to House Minority Leader Emily Cain’s office, this story did not clearly represent Cain's views about welfare reform. She says her remarks that the welfare reforms in the budget are “significant improvements” refer to improvements in what was originally proposed by Governor Paul LePage, not improvements over the system that existed prior to passage of the new budget. In our original story we used an account of Cain’s views from another publication; that account was not put in the proper context.

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