'New Hampshire envy' motivates neighboring Maine lawmakers

By GLENN ADAMS | May 22, 2011 | 12:45 PM EDT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine may have just turned Republican red, politically speaking. But color it green with envy for its only American neighbor, New Hampshire.

The notion came up during the Legislature's debate over health insurance reform. Democratic Sen. Joseph Brannigan of Portland spoke of what he called "New Hampshire envy" that occurs when legislators compare proposals in Maine with how New Hampshire does things.

The cross-state comparisons have also surfaced on issues such as liquor, fireworks, taxes and text messaging.

Even Maine Gov. Paul LePage says New Hampshire is a model for how to treat businesses better.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch prefers to focus on issues where the two states have worked together, for example in their combined efforts in 2005 to save the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from closing.