LePage says he wants to negotiate new budget

Courtesy photo

Gov. Paul LePage promises to veto the Legislature's budget that raises sales, meals and lodging taxes Thursday during a rally in the State House's Hall of Flags.

AUGUSTA — Maine Gov. Paul LePage announced to cheers Thursday that he's going to veto the two-year budget that contains temporary tax increase and asked for a continuing resolution to buy time to negotiate a budget without tax increases.

Breaking: LePage makes Vaseline joke in response to Democrats

During an Americans For Prosperity rally dubbed "Don't Overtax ME" in the State House Hall of Flags, LePage called on residents to tell their lawmakers to reject the current proposal and agree to a short-term budget solution to avoid a government shutdown, as sign-holding activists cheered behind him.

"The budget raises taxes on hardworking Maine families. I am here to tell you I will veto this budget," he said. Behind him, the group held signs that said, "Veto the budget!" and "Less taxes, less government, more freedom."

But Democrats say a continuing resolution won't be necessary because they are confident they will have enough votes to override the governor's veto next week, before the July 1 deadline.

The bipartisan budget adopted by the Legislature would temporarily increase Maine's 5 percent sales tax by a half-cent and temporarily raise the meals and lodging tax from 7 to 8 percent, generating an additional roughly $170 million over two years.

Democrats said that the increases were designed to avert steep property tax increases that would result from a two-year suspension of revenue-sharing to Maine municipalities, which LePage had proposed in his original budget.

LePage proposed Thursday to Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves that the Legislature adopt a 60-day continuing budget resolution that would keep government running while a solution is negotiated. LePage said the short-term resolution would ensure that state employees don't lose their jobs while avoiding an "unnecessary tax increase."

"Democrats have been saying for months and putting fear into people that there is a pending shutdown of government," he said. "That's how they get weak Republicans to cave."

The Republican has been threatening to veto the budget since it landed on his desk late last week, saying a potential state government shutdown in the short term would be better than adopting a budget that includes tax increases.

Lawmakers finished nearly all of their work for the session early Thursday morning, passing a slew of bills now headed to the governor's desk. They already were prepared to reconvene next week to vote to attempt to override LePage's potential veto.

Assistant Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash said the 60-day resolution is "something that we don't need to talk about right now." He predicted enough Republicans will join with the Democrats to get the two-thirds votes necessary to override the veto.

"I think the Republicans definitely understand what's at stake here," he said.

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Comments

DONALD FERLAND's picture

First...does anyone notice

First...does anyone notice that the people in the background are not Republican legislatures? Second....did anyone catch that Lepage called Republican legislatures weak and said they "caved" in? Besides the negative comments about people in general and the democrats he is now attacking his own party. Now a great deal is being made of his vaseline comment but I am not hearing anything on how Senator Katz is weak or Representative Fredette and they are the minority leaders and they voted for this budget. Don't get me wrong...I am NOT a republican. Nor am I a democrat. However, I felt I should point this out so that maybe the ones in Augusta would actually wake up and smell the coffee. This governor will throw his own party under the bus just to get his way. As far as coming to the table to negotiate...I have this to say....Governor Lepage you should have thought of that months ago when democratic leaders wanted to sit down with you and you said no and then everything had to happen in your way on your terms. Government cannot work that way as it would be a tyranny.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

When

When first introduced in the late 40's early 50's (I was around 5 at the time) the 1% sales tax was intended to be a short term tax to help the WWII vets get back on their feet.

Well the tax is still here, it has been raised 5 times. The sad part is that most of the veterans it was going to help are no longer here.

The problem with any goverment spending is it is like feeding an obese person. The more you feed it the more it eats. It is time to put the town, city, county, state, and federal governments on a diet.

I'm old enough so that no matter what the liberals do including turning our beloved country into a anarchy it isn't going to affect me for very long.

Young people get your head out of the sand. Government doe's nothing to improve your life. Make you elected officials work for you not against you like they have for the past 40 years here in Maine.

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage says he wants to negotiate new budget

Mainers , Thursday night 20:10
Call me dumb , but , by Maine state law he must pass a budget , correct ?
Other wise he does not pass go and cannot collect US$200 ?
He then proceeds directly to jail , starts stamping out license plates , begins making pine furniture for sale cheap , and then makes little ones out of big ones ( rocks ) in a rather snazzy suit ?
Do tell , Republicans •
We hear that stripes are ' in ' this year • 
/s Steve :D

Jason Theriault's picture

BTW

By the way - who's responsible for bringing the vaseline? I mean, if they re-negotiate, someone is getting screwed.

Michael Schaedler's picture

Are you folks fools enough to

Are you folks fools enough to believe that there is such a thing as a temporary tax increase?
Maine aught to do what Rumford is doing now. http://www.sunjournal.com/news/river-valley/2013/06/19/rumford-board-hac...
The people voted down the budget and the town council is actually working on doing what the people want and need done.
No one that is used to spending a pile of money wants to be told they have to slow down, and work with what can be afforded. It takes time some times to have some acceptance, of reality.

Jason Theriault's picture

Say bye bye to smooth roads

Yes, they were wasting money*sarcasm*.

Things you're going to lose:
Police:
Carter said the department would lose a detective, a dispatcher and a utility officer and greatly reduce the department's effectiveness at combating drugs.

Fire:
Chase said that would keep two men on shift who could only bring one truck to a fire. Then there would be a delay until enough manpower and equipment could be mustered either with the call force or mutual aid.

Public works:
Your streets are screwed, especially in the winter.They cut $150K from the winter roads budget. Good luck with that, and I hope you have a 4 wheel drive

Claudette Therriault's picture

town budgets

It's either sales taxes or real estate taxes. And when towns cut their budgets, schools are always the ones to suffer. At this rate, the next generation will be poorer, uneducated and even more on welfare because we refuse to give the schools the money they need to properly educate these kids.

And yes, I hear the elderly whine about they have no kids in school, why should they pay? I'm elderly and the last of my grandchildren just graduated from RSU 4. And, I will continue to support the schools.

But this would not be an issue if taxes were raised, ever so little, on a state level.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Wow , Claudette . You

Wow , Claudette . You nailed that one •  " i believe that children are our future . Teach them well and let them lead the way. ." -- Whitney Houston ( a song ) . /s Dr. Dosh , Old Geezah , too . ..

Bob Woodbury's picture

Politics...

...before people.

Jason Theriault's picture

Tell him no.

Republican's don't get two bites of the negotiating apple. If he wanted to be part of the negotiations, he certainly had the opportunity. Besides - he is already saying he's taking tax increases(and cutting hi tax cut) off the table, so he doesn't want to negotiate, he wants to dictate.

No, the Dems should say no.

Claudette Therriault's picture

Budget

The budget is fair in that everyone shares in the small increment that taxes will go up. What is not fair is that without a budget and revenue sharing, homeowners in Maine will pay the lion's share. Maine is an elderly state with many of us homeowners living on fixed income. The governor is a bully and will not negotiate. It's his way or no way.

Jason Theriault's picture

The problem

Most municipalities(excluding Lewiston/Auburn) have education as the largest part of their budget. And since unions are against republicans, they see schools as a democrat institutions. This is the real reason they are for charter and private schools. They want to get rid of the unions.

And one way to weaken schools and therefore garner support for private schools is to force the municipalities to cut school spending but cutting funding to the municipality, forcing them to make cuts, because as we have seen in Auburn, increasing property taxes is a hard sell.

The bipartisan plan that LePage is sitting on shifts taxes to sales taxes, which tourists can help us out with, and let us lower other taxes.

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