C. Ward: A nasty cost-shifting game

Gov. Paul LePage says Maine must pay the bills, especially to hospitals. Last year, he said nothing about Maine paying the bill owed to the Maine Public Employees Retirement System — a bill more than 35 years in the making. Instead, Maine defaulted on the payment of the MePERS bill.

LePage actually demanded that the people required to pay into MePERS pay the bill. Yes, he taxed the people in MePERS. A tax is when government demands money from the people. Gov. LePage did not pay the bill owed to MePERS; he defaulted and taxed.

LePage has not paid the bill for 55 percent of the cost of education in the state, as enacted into law by Maine people. His plan is to shift education costs back to local cities and towns, which will increase local property taxes. That will become a tax increase for homeowners.

Gov. LePage’s tax cuts of 2012 were made with full knowledge that there was no money to pay for them, resulting in a financial hole in the 2013 budget.

He is playing a nasty, cost-shifting game with the people. He cuts state income taxes/programs and then shifts costs to locals and causes a property tax increase. Under his plan, I will see an estimated $90 decrease in state taxes and a possible $200-300 property tax increase. Homeowners will lose money.

People should beware of state tax cuts dressed up in cost shifting/hidden taxes. They might see less money in their pockets.

Crystal Ward, Lewiston

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 's picture


Yes, Crystal, LePage has not paid 55% of public education costs. What you didn't mention, conveniently, is that this requirement was around long before LePage. In particular, Baldacci ignored it for 8 years because he was concentrating on not paying the state's MaineCare bills. One wonders what he did pay.

Oh, yeah, now I remember. He kept the unions happy - at the expense of sick people and school kids.

ERNEST LABBE's picture


Perhaps Crystal forgets that thee current govenor was not in office for the preceeding 33 years. And oh yes for all those years we had a democratic legislature. But don't worry those same teachers will vote for Baldacci again if he runs.

 's picture

And John Elias ...

... was also not paying for maintenance of state roads and bridges. All repair and improvement of infrastructure took place in the last two years. So JEB also provided a bumpy, dangerous ride for sick people in ambulances and kids in school buses. But, golly, somehow he found the bucks to continue King Angus' pride and joy, the laptops-for-yard-apes program.


Well said, but can we really

Well said, but can we really expect anything different from a man who doesn't own property in the state, who throws temper tantrums, holds bonds hostage, and tries to bully his bills through? He disrespects our children when he puts down our schools, thinks he is the ONLY one with answers, and doesn't listen to his employers-the people of the state of Maine- in the private sector this would be grounds for termination. It's about time ALL politicians listen to the people who employ them and Maine people should have a way to remove the people who fail to do what is asked of them without having to wait for an election. Our only hope, it seems, right now is to pray there is only a 2 way race for governor and not a 3 way race so that LePage doesn't win by default.

 's picture


Crystal is a retired teacher and teachers union official. Apparently, there will never be enough money for her benefits. Kind of sad, really.

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

paying billswas the issue

Hello Bob , hearing from a far right conservatives is always interesting. The issue was gov't paying all of its bills. One can not make a big public announcement about paying the bill of the states and then select only a few of the bills to pay. I would think as a far right anti tax conservative you would be very upset about the State TAXING retired people in MePERS and cost shifting State bills onto local taxes??


You know, I may not be

You know, I may not be politically savvy but if I were to choose to only pay certain bills then I would have my power shut off or my cable shut off or be evicted....etc. Must be nice to say I am not paying this bill and have someone else (local communities) pay it for me....where do I sign up?

 's picture

Crystal, Question for you:

You were a history/government teacher at Lewiston High, were you not? How do you read this sentence from Article 8, Part First, of Maine's constitution?

"the Legislature are authorized, and it shall be their duty to require, the several towns to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public schools;"

To me, it reads that public education is the sole responsibility of the local communities. It doesn't say anything about "55%" or state "revenue sharing back to schools." I'd like to get back to local towns responsible for running their own schools. 96% of New Hampshire K-12 expense is paid for by local communities, and it must be working, because the level of educational performance blows Maine's away.

The property tax is a wonderful thing. You have to write a check once or twice a year to pay it, and it hurts. Local taxpayers start to pay attention after a while, as to how their money is being spent.

And there is nothing wrong, from my perspective, in being a "far right conservative." We are fighting to continue free speech in America. Your ilk, the leftists, are working to suppress it. We are fighting to retain the right to bear arms to protect us against the government. Your ilk, the Leninists in power, are trying to disarm the citizenry. I could go on and on.

CRYSTAL WARD's picture

resorting to name calling again ?

We are talking about paying the states bills ?? Do you not count all the laws passed by the Maine Legislatures or the Maine people as legal ? If you stand on only the Maine Constitution and no other statutes things as going to be pretty "interesting" in Maine.
I believe in Maines Property Taxpayer--- you know "we the people"

There is nothing wrong with being a proud Liberal, in my perspective, we have fought long and hard to protect the people freedoms over the years -- and I will continue .

 's picture

"People Freedoms" ?

Are you in favor of reversing the SOTUS Citizens United decision of 2010? I'll bet that you are. Many liberals are in favor of reversing that decision.

If you are in favor of reversing, it follows that you are in favor of suppressing free speech of classes of citizens. How is that protecting people freedoms?

I'll bet there are some freedoms that I agree with you on. But we cannot be selective on who gets what freedom.

It seems as though the liberals in America want less freedom. We are a society that loses freedom for every dollar the federal government goes into debt. Obama will soon have our national debt up over $20 trillion as he is left unchecked in spending "programs." Do you really think we'll ever pay that back?

This is all going to come crashing down someday, and we'll learn all about the freedoms that will no longer exist.

 's picture

You have selective memory.

King and Baldacci raised selective bill paying to an art form. You and your fellow travelers expressed little or no outrage when they were stiffing the taxpayers - you reserved your outrage for Republicans. I don't receive state retirement benefits, but taxes on my self-funded retirement programs go to support those public programs. Why is it so outrageous to expect the beneficiaries to pay their fair share?


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