Cutler, Michaud weigh in on governor's record number of vetoes

AUGUSTA — If Eliot Cutler were governor today, the state's Medicaid system would cover 70,000 more people. If Mike Michaud were governor, the state's minimum wage would be going up.

Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage

"Mainers and Americans can compete with any country in the world in both quality and price if we compete on a level playing field," LePage wrote in his veto message on LD 890. "Letting this bill become law would say to American workers that they cannot compete unless the deck is stacked in their favor."

Sun Journal file photo 2013

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud

"He marked up some of those bills that went through unanimously and some that passed with strong bipartisan support," Michaud said of the 82 bills LePage vetoed in 2013. "It clearly shows that he's unwilling to work with them."

BDN|Photo

Eliot Cutler

"A lot of these bills ended up being vetoed because of a failure of leadership – on both sides, both the governor and the Legislature," Cutler said, "and a failure of engagement on both sides but in particular by the governor."

Bills aimed at passing those things into law vetoed by Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

LePage vetoed a record 82 bills, of which lawmakers could muster the votes to override only four.

Not surprisingly, Cutler, an independent and Michaud, a Democrat, said they would have done things differently.

To find out how differently, the Sun Journal asked the top two candidates challenging LePage  in the 2014 election to review some of the bills he vetoed and to say what they would have done differently.

Both said they would have worked more collaboratively with the Legislature to fix problems in the legislation before the measures reached their desks.

"It's not a very good working relationship the governor has with the Legislature or even his own party," Michaud said. "He marked up some of those bills that went through unanimously and some that passed with strong bipartisan support. It clearly shows that he's unwilling to work with them."

Cutler said asking him about a list of LePage vetoes was like asking someone to comment on a train wreck. "You know, there's a train wreck and then you ask somebody, 'Do you oppose it or support it?'"

He added, "A lot of these bills ended up being vetoed because of a failure of leadership, on both sides, both the governor and the Legislature, and a failure of engagement on both sides but in particular by the governor."

Cutler also said LePage vetoed many bills because they were not funded by the Legislature.

"I have a lot of sympathy with his concern about the Legislature, taking action without any sufficient acknowledgement of the budgetary consequences of what they want to do," Cutler said.

Here's a sampling of how Michaud and Cutler would have reacted to some of the bills LePage vetoed.

Medicaid expansion

Both candidates would have signed into law the bills that would have expanded Maine's Medicaid system under new provisions in the federal Affordable Care Act.

In his veto message, LePage said that despite federal funding for the expansion, Maine taxpayers would eventually be left on the hook to cover the costs of ever-expanding "welfare rolls."

"Every citizen in the state of Maine should have access to primary and secondary preventative health care — universal access," Cutler said. "Accepting as a given a health care system that is designed around the needs of health insurance companies and hospitals is wrong. "

Michaud said the bill, LD 1066, was structured to include an automatic review of future costs to the state and was an "excellent compromise" that he too would have signed.

"Because of the enhanced reimbursement rates under the ACA, Maine actually saves money," Michaud said. "It's estimated to be $600 million over a 10-year time frame. Hospitals will get an additional $348 million because of that enhanced rate, which I think is extremely important."

Also important to Michaud was that 3,000 Maine veterans would have been among the 70,000 who would have been eligible for health care coverage under the expansion.

Minimum wage

Both said they would have signed a bill, LD 611, that raised the minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $9 an hour by 2016. The measure also hitched the minimum wage to inflation, including automatic cost-of-living increases.  

"We must create the environment for well-paying careers to give hardworking families an opportunity to succeed," LePage wrote in his veto message. "Mainers deserve more than the minimum and if we give them the opportunity, they'll earn it."

Cutler said he would have "worked like hell" to make a minimum-wage increase part of a broader economic development plan.

"I've said over and over again, I wouldn't have introduced a bill that did nothing but increase the minimum wage," Cutler said. "I would have made that part of a much bigger package, but had it come to my desk I would have signed it because the minimum wage right now is not a living wage and it's too far below a living wage."

Michaud said increasing the minimum wage wouldn't kill jobs as opponents to the increase predicted. 

"If the price of staples like bread, milk and gas go up, wages should as well," Michaud said. "Most businesses pay the minimum wage or higher. I think people should have a livable wage. We've increased the minimum wage in the past and it did not have a negative effect on the economy. My preference, of course, would be to really focus on trying to attract businesses that pay good wages here in Maine."

Municipal fees

Cutler and Michaud said they would have signed LD 405, which would have allowed cities and towns to increase the fee paid on a vehicle registration renewal from $3 to $5 and to increase the fee on a new registration from $4 to $6.

"The problems we face in Maine do not stem from a lack of government taking money from its citizens," LePage wrote in his veto message.

Michaud said the bill was an attempt to correct a bad habit of pushing costs and responsibilities onto municipal government. "The fee would have taken some pressure off of property taxpayers who are currently subsidizing the work done at town hall to carry out these duties."

Cutler said LePage has been increasing the burden on municipal governments "right and left without funding them." He said the fee had not increased since 1991 and that LePage's veto was "wholly, completely inconsistent with everything he says about burden-sharing and unfunded mandates."

Cutler added, "LePage is trying to kill government, not fix it."

Gun control

"Those who commit terrible crimes with firearms are one of two things: mentally ill or criminal," LePage wrote in his veto message on LD 1240, a bill that would have allowed a civil fine to be levied against those who sell guns privately without first checking the background of the buyer. "No amount of laws will change that behavior," LePage wrote.

He also criticized a bill that would have applied the fine to gun transfers between family members.

Michaud and Cutler said they would have signed the measure into law. 

"I support stronger background checks and believe this bill was a move in the right direction," Michaud said. However, he said, such legislation should take special care to "ensure that we don't impose unnecessary bureaucracy on two brothers swapping guns or a transaction between a father and son."

Cutler said gun ownership and use is an important part of Maine culture and its economy and he understands and supports the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

"But none of that means you can't have legitimate, universal background checks so we keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them," Cutler said. "Everyone agrees that there are groups of people who should not have access to firearms, and there is no way of achieving that objective without having universal background checks."

Buy American 

Cutler said he agreed with LePage's veto of LD 890, a bill that would have required the state to buy American-made building materials for construction projects and would have created a preference for American products in the state's procurement system of other items.

In his veto message, LePage said the bill was in direct conflict with other legislation that was aimed at promoting cross-border trade with Canada and created too restrictive a burden on a state budget that his administration was working hard to control.

"When spending taxpayer dollars, the state should look to ensure we get the best possible deal and that includes dividends earned by spending money at home," LePage wrote.

Cutler said he was sympathetic to the idea that preference be given to American-made products, but that preference ought to be "responsible and rational."

"What this bill did was a mistake," Cutler said. "It failed to establish the margin by which the cost of American-made products could exceed competitive products before the 'buy-American' provision was moot." He said other states that have enacted similar laws included those types of checks.

Michaud said he would have signed the bill into law.

"I’ve always been a strong supporter of buying American," Michaud said. "It’s my firm belief that the more products that are made in America, the easier it will be for people to make it in America."

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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Comments

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Cutler

The polls seem to indicate that about 60% of Maine voters think either Cutler or Michaud would be an improvement over Lepage. Of the 38% who support Lepage about 30% think he should keep his mouth shut. Last election I voted for Cutler so I obviously think he is very qualified, however, the last time I voted for him I ended up with the worst governor in the country. So that is a mistake I do not intend to repeat. Mike Michaud has an exemplary record of supporting his district and working hard for the people of Maine especially veterans. He will make a fine governor, if for no other reason than he will not be an embarrassment to us and to himself.

Michaud would be a terrible

Michaud would be a terrible set back for Maine. Cutler would be much better than Michaud. You said Lepage is the worst Governor in the nation. How did you come to the conclusion? He definitely is the most out spoken Governor in the nation. What I like about him the most, is the he is the most unpolitical correct governor in the nation. I think Lepage has been very effective as
Maines governor, even with his potty mouth. I know this drives the political correct crazy, but thats ok with me, because most of them are nutty anyways.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Dennis ? " You said Lepage is

Dennis ? " You said Lepage is the worst Governor in the nation. How did you come to the conclusion? " The ( R ) governor of TX is worse and the ( R ) governor of NJ is better . Paul LePage is only 2nd wors† . He is the dumbest though . He's about as smart as a loon , a lobster , some lichen , or a box of hammers •
Just our opinion , mind you , Mr. Arsenault
  hth ? /s, Steve , HI
http://www.bubbagump.com/locations/kona/ <- NOT an endorsement or advertisement ed.

You're insulting the box of

You're insulting the box of hammers.

It's funny...

How just a little thing like paying the President of the United States the respect his office is due can turn a Tea Party darling into a pariah. He lost that CPAC invitation faster than you could say "Grover Norquist" when he had the temerity to shake hands with the President.

I don't watch *any* of the cable news operations, so I neither know nor care who likes whom. This is the real worlds, not grade school.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Most outspoken????

That may be so. But I wish he would use his mouth instead of pretending to be.........

THE MAN FROM URANUS

Beware when he speaks!!

Now playing at the Capitol Drive-In

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . . 16:16 hst ? Sunday

. . . 16:16 hst ? Sunday
HahahAhahH Joanne ! Do tell ! " Is there a ring of debris around Uranus ? "
It's a scientific question , tea partiers , independents , and republicans
†yvm Joanne and Claire , We \/ote and we are not felons . ßillery for President
/s, Dr. Dosh HI , birth state of our sitting President , birthers
( and also directed toward Donald Trump , re-tard and he has been bankrupt 2 times already )
Sarchasm - the gulf between a sarcastic remark and the people who did not get it •

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

If that is what you consider;

What I like about him the most, is the he is the most unpolitically correct governor in the nation. I think Lepage has been very effective as Maine's governor, even with his potty mouth.
-----------
unpolitically.......Maine's.....word corrections for you, Dennis the Menace....

----------------------
If that is how you consider or extrapolate any candidates;

Then you have very low standards for selecting politicians or people for any type of office. You should not vote, since you are highly and always misinformed and spreading your comments as them having any logic.

It has nothing to do with his

It has nothing to do with his political incorrectness. It has everything to do with his lack of competence. It's not that what he says is politically incorrect -- I'm no supporter of the PI police myself. It is the fact that every time he shares one of these gems with us, it just shows how lacking in the brains department he is. Again I bring up Chris Christie, another governor not afraid to say what's on his mind. The difference? He's actually got some intelligence. When he speaks his mind, his spokesperson doesn't have to try and walk it back and explain that he wasn't trying to be offensive, or explain what he *really* meant to say. As a result, he gets a lot more respect from from the people of his state than LePage does.

When the folks at MSNBC love

When the folks at MSNBC love you as they do Christie, I'm very supicious. He reminds me of the ex governor of Florida, who switched to Democrat after he lost to Rubio. I don't trust Christie, and would never support him running for Prez.

It's funny...

How just a little thing like paying the President of the United States the respect his office is due can turn a Tea Party darling into a pariah. He lost that CPAC invitation faster than you could say "Grover Norquist" when he had the temerity to shake hands with the President.

I don't watch *any* of the cable news operations, so I neither know nor care who likes whom. This is the real worlds, not grade school.

Charlie Crist was his name, a

Charlie Crist was his name, a phoney.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

He ranked

2nd from worst in the 50 states....

Is that a MSNBC poll or

Is that a MSNBC poll or Huffington Post Poll?

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Faux Noise

Timothy Cox's picture

Cutler Michaud

Like I said Lapage has the best intrest of Maine at heart, If cutler or Michaud get in we will be back to the crap of Baldachi King eras and after they get done there will only be a few left working that are not on welfare in this state, Lapage has done the state good if you look at it objectivily, unemployment is down taxes are down and would go further if the legislator would agree, there will always be indivduals unhappy no matter who is Gov, I just want a fiscal resposiable state to leave our children

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Sometimes I wonder...........

Sometimes I wonder, do these people, who are convinced that if a certain party takes office, everyone and his brother will end up on welfare, actually know what welfare is. I was only about forty-nine years old when I went on SSDI, am I on welfare? Are people who fall between the cracks better off without assistance, forcing them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Will it really be better to leave the children a fiscally responsible state? Just what is a fiscally responsible state? Just how will throwing everyone, not fortunate enough to be among the rich, under the bus, really accomplish fiscal responsibility?
These are just a few of the many questions I have after following all the right sided comments of late. On the "right", we have the fiscally responsible crowd. They feel every problem can be solved with money. To them, it's easy to look at a balanced budget, without ever considering the casualties of that budget. There are always casualties.
On the other side we have Liberally thinking crowd. I guess I'm one of them. For me the casualties of a balanced budget are far more important than the balanced part of the budget. Much like we hear LePage preaching, I too have been down and out. People used to wonder how I ever got hired by the phone company. It was simple, the guy who came to my house to disconnect my phone told me of the job opening. That same guy was training me a week later. I was on a first name basis with the CMP guy who used to shut my electricity off. It can happen to anyone, and it does happen a lot.
Maybe that's why I empathize with those less fortunate. I've been there, LePage on the other hand seems to blame everyone for his sad childhood. That's my opinion anyway.
We need someone who has experienced the real world, and learned from it, not someone who punishes everyone because of it. LePage had his chance, he has no one to blame but himself for the outcome. Now it's time to let someone with a better attitude take the reigns. We're on a sinking ship, there's still time to plug the wholes...........

FRANK EARLEY's picture

I mean "holes"

sorry...........

Does he really?

Does a Governor who seems to have little if anything good to say about our State really have the best interest of Maine at heart? Does a Governor who scuttles lucrative business deals that would have benefited the State really have the best interest of Maine at heart? Does a Governor who (incorrectly) calls our students a laughing stock to the nation's universities have the best interest of Maine in mind? How about one who withholds voter-supported bonds which would have created jobs and helped towns fix up their main streets and encourage business to move in? That's in Maine's best interest? Preventing 70,000 Mainers from getting healthcare because he doesn't want the Fed's free money? That's in Maine's best interest? What about suspending revenue sharing, forcing already-underfunded towns and cities to either slash their budgets or raise property taxes on those who are already struggling to pay their current bills?

No, he does not have the best interest of Maine at heart. Only the best interest of himself and the Republican Party. That would be a party that, like the Democrats, only has the support of a third of the State.

Bob White's picture

Are you sure your not talking

Are you sure your not talking about our President? Your so wrong on so many points. I will say your so called free money from the Feds guess what genius its not really free we pay for it.

Are you saying LePage has not

Are you saying LePage has not done or said any of those things? Because if you are you haven't been paying attention (or willfully ignoring his screwups). Las I checked, the President is not our governor, so that question is just plain moronic.

Troll file for you, my... er no, you're not my friend.

 's picture

Eliot Cutler needs to cut out

Eliot Cutler needs to cut out now,and give Michaud a chance to win.He already has shown how dependable he is,by backing out of the last election when it was too late.We need Mike Michaud.Someone needs to straighten out the mess LePage has created.

Democrats should get behind

Democrats should get behind Cutler, Michaud cant win!

AL PELLETIER's picture

Give it up, Dennis

Your 2010 strategy won't work this time around, and, YES HE CAN!

The polls are calling you a

The polls are calling you a liar... Michaud is polling more than twice as high as Eliot. Not that I trust a poll taken over a year before the election.

Though I personally support Eliot, I think that the only reason he came as close as he id last time was hat Cynthia Dill was about as weak a candidate as the Dems could have come up with. Unfortunately, not enough Dems and Independents figured that out before they cast their early vote for her then wished they'd waited for their decision. This is why I refuse to vote early.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Why not?

Details, please!

Jerry is correct Tim. Since

Jerry is correct Tim. Since LePage became Governor, unemployment is down and more people are working.

That's a national average,

That's a national average, Bob. Unemployment is down nationwifde. More people are working, yes, but in terms of growth comparison, Maine is still falling behind the rest of New Egland and most of the rest of the country. So the question would be: why is he holding us back?

Timothy Cox's picture

cutler, michaud

Both of these career politicians, want to spend,spend and spend thinking it will make living here better when it only buys them votes, the 5 or 6 people left working in Maine not on welfare will have to leave when they are done, laPage may not have much political correctness but he has the future of Maine in his best intrest, if there wernt so many thin skinned people to bash him something positive could get done

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

5 or 6 people left working in Maine

You need to get out of your cave and out from under your rock! 5 or 6 left working, whee!

I hope Cutler and Michaud

I hope Cutler and Michaud each get about 31% of the vote!

Gerry Thompson's picture

You might

not like how LePage speaks but he has more common sense than both Michaud and Cutler put together

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Oh, sure!

So much more common sense he makes T-baggers look like graduate PHD's!!! Ha! Give it a break, Gerry. The man is a blooming idiot!

Probably the most common

Probably the most common sense he's shown in 3 years.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .Wayne , 3.7 years . . .

. .Wayne , 3.7 years . . . Common sense seems to be in short supply in the Great State of Maine these days . I am from Hawai'i • /s Steve http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/maine
" Shoes and boots or boos and shoots ? " †ake yer pick • 

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