For the record, Rep. Jeff McCabe is close friend and someone I have worked with in a bipartisan manner for four years, but I found myself a bit stunned by his recent column.

McCabe paints a dismal picture of Maine’s economy in his July 12 column, “Maine one of few states where economy slid backward last year,” in this newspaper.

Maine, indeed, was one of seven states whose economy shrink in 2011, by one measure. McCabe’s column, however, lacks context.

Economists attribute the decline in Maine’s Growth Domestic Product mostly to the closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station. The last of the 3,400 jobs the base provided left the state when BNAS closed for good in 2011. It was a federal, not state, policy that led to this statistic.

Look closer, however, at the states listed in the study. Wyoming was rated as the lowest growth state, and it has an unemployment rate of below 5 percent, while California rated high. Is McCabe actually suggesting California is in good shape or an example we should follow? Those states getting their “growth” from debt are in rough shape and about to get rougher.

I was stunned to read about the tax cuts McCabe attacked, since he supported them, as did 50 other Democrats.

Everyone knew that Maine had an outdated tax code that treated families that made more than $20,000 as top earners and taxed them accordingly.

The reform that was widely supported by both parties updated this 40-year-old tax code and lowered taxes for all Mainers. I was glad to work with Jeff on this, but it is funny to see him now campaigning against issues he voted for and supported.

The bigger picture shows Maine’s economy is bucking the national trend and has made significant strides under Republican leadership. Our unemployment rate is lower than the national average.

Long considered one of the nation’s least business-friendly states, Maine recently moved up five spots in CNBC’s ranking of America’s top state’s for business in 2012. At No. 35, we still have a long way to go, but are now moving in the right direction.

Maine also moved up four places in chief executive’s annual survey of best and worst states in which to do business, trailing only New Hampshire for New England states.

What’s changed? A change in leadership in Augusta that brought the largest tax cut in state history and regulatory reform that is allowing businesses to bypass the red tape they identified as their No. 1 obstacle.

In his column, McCabe attacks insurance companies and corporations as greedy profiteers. Hey, does anyone actually like insurance companies? He then states that he will always side with the consumer against these groups, but how is denying consumers a choice on buying insurance across state lines standing with them?

It’s understandable that McCabe wants to attack the reforms of this last legislative session, tax reform, health care reform, welfare reform, particularly during an election year. What is stunning, however, is how much of what he attacks he actually voted for. In the modern game of politics, though, I guess if you are out of ideas, you just attack, regardless of your own record.

Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, serves on the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee.

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