Liberal group gives GOP calculators; GOP passes them onto school

Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, hands calculators from the liberal group Maine’s Majority to Andy Doiron, principal of Chelsea Elementary School.

Maine’s Majority wanted to teach legislative Republicans a lesson about balancing the state budget. Instead, the liberal activist group’s gesture toward GOP legislators is unwittingly helping Chelsea Elementary School students learn lessons in math.

Maine’s Majority on Thursday delivered 73 pocket calculators to Republican lawmakers in Augusta in an effort to send a message that what the group calls poor fiscal planning — through newly implemented tax cuts that will cause the state to forgo about $342 million in revenue during the upcoming two-year budget cycle — is a chief cause for Maine’s current budget troubles.

“The revenue collapse that caused this shortfall was predictable and avoidable,” Maine’s Majority executive director Chris Korzen said in a statement. “It is the result of the worst recession in decades, and irresponsible policies that shifted taxes away from the rich and on to working families.”

The group distributed one calculator for every GOP lawmaker and one for Gov. Paul LePage. One Republican, Sen. Tom Saviello of Wilton, didn’t receive a calculator because he’s sponsoring legislation that would raise the state’s top income tax rate to 8.5 percent for Mainers making more than $250,000, a move Maine’s Majority supports.

Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, on Friday brought the 73 calculators to the elementary school in her hometown, where Principal Andy Doiron accepted them.

“I wanted to turn lemons into lemonade and show my support for our local schools,” Sanderson said in a statement.  “Education reform is an important issue for me, and I thought of this as a creative way to get the message out that we need to be more creative in finding solutions to change the educational status quo in Maine.”

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