LePage vetoes budget

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage followed through on his vow to veto a compromise budget sent to to him June 13 by the Legislature. The Republican governor issued his veto letter Monday afternoon.

File photo

Gov. Paul LePage says the two-year budget the Legislature approved cut $18.2 million for education from his proposed budget. Democrats say they added $30 million to education funding.

State lawmakers must override veto to avoid shutdown of Maine government

In his veto message, LePage said the budget harms students and elderly Mainers. He also repeated his complaint that the state’s “welfare” spending cuts too deeply into other budget areas.

“This veto is not one done lightly,” he said. “When I submitted a balanced budget, I knew there would be areas of concern for many legislators. That is why we had nearly six months to work together and find a solution that would have made hard decisions while still protecting our most vulnerable. It was an opportunity for our state to do something great, to make real changes for the better. Unfortunately, it was an opportunity missed.”

The veto sets the stage for crucial override votes Wednesday in the Maine House and Senate, both of which passed the budget with at least two-thirds majorities before sending it to LePage. If either chamber fails to reach the two-thirds vote threshold, the veto will be sustained, leaving the state without a budget for the two-year fiscal cycle that begins July 1.

Without a budget, all but essential services of state government would shut down, repeating a 1991 scenario that Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature have said they want to avoid.

LePage — who objects to temporary sales, meals and lodging taxes included in the budget — last week told Dirigo Girls State delegates that a “two-week shutdown would be preferable to two years with this budget.”

On Thursday, the governor proposed a temporary 60-day budget in the form of the continuing resolutions used by Congress to pay for ongoing government functions while he and legislators negotiate a new budget deal. Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, said such a plan would violate the Maine Constitution, and Democratic legislative leaders — who believe they have enough votes to override the budget veto — showed no interest in the plan.

The Legislature’s 13-member Appropriations Committee, after lengthy overnight negotiations, unanimously endorsed the compromise budget early the morning of June 8. The budget compromise temporarily raises the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.5 percent and meals and lodging taxes from 7 percent to 8 percent through June 30, 2015. It restores about 65 percent of the $200 million in municipal revenue sharing that LePage proposed suspending as part of the two-year budget plan he introduced in January.

The Legislature’s budget also makes major changes to LePage’s original education and human services funding proposals.

The House voted 102-43 to enact the budget. The Senate voted 25-10.

As of Friday, LePage had vetoed more than 30 pieces of legislation this session. The Legislature has sustained every one of them for which an override vote has been taken, although more than a dozen will be subject to legislative votes Wednesday.

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

He is unable to comprimise...........

Compromise is a very simple way to bridge the gap between two ideas. It's what we do the allow both sides to somehow work together, to use parts of every idea, and form a solution which will benefit all sides. It's compromise because all sides don't get everything they wish for, but are able to contribute to the final solution.
Paul LePage is either unwilling to, or unable to compromise. It's almost like he has some sort of mental block, which won't allow him to see what actually needs to be done. He sees only what his plan is, and nothing else can penetrate his thought process. It is most likely why he is so easily swayed to things such as the State government shutdown. In his mind, this disastrous option is far less damaging than allowing anything else but his own ideas to fall into place. Basically, he can not bring himself to accept anything but total compliance of his plans and ideas, and no one else's. Unfortunately as long as he has the final say, we can expect nothing to be accomplished. Without compromise, there can be no bipartisan decisions. Which only brings us back to the old LePage credo, It's my way or the high way, and his way is usually the wrong way. This will be all we can expect as long as Paul LePage is allowed to stay in office.........

When you compromise with

When you compromise with Democrats, your taxes always goes up.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

I have just two

I have just two questions....Does Mr. Lepage know how to do math? And who in their right mind would believe a word that comes out of his potty mouth?

Claudette Therriault's picture

Education

There he goes passing the buck again.... Education is being hurt because Lepage is cutting revenue sharing to towns who in turn must make cuts to the school systems.

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