LePage threatens to sue Legislature over state budget

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has threatened to sue the state’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee if they do not balance the state budget in the next session.

AP file photo

Gov. Paul LePage

Speaking to a group of Kiwanis Club members in Dexter on Nov. 15, the governor lamented “gimmicks” used to balance the budget approved by the Legislature in July. LePage vetoed that budget, but the Legislature overrode his veto.

“I’m going to insist that the budget be balanced. The constitution of the state of Maine requires it and it hasn’t been balanced since I’ve been governor,” LePage said, according to the Picataquis Observer. “In January, I’m going to urge (Appropriations) to balance it, and if they don’t, I’m going to sue them in Supreme Court for violating the constitution of the state of Maine. I think it’s time we take a bold move.”

On Wednesday, LePage’s press office confirmed that the governor had threatened to sue the committee, and that he had brought up the idea before. However, Communications Director Peter Steele said he would need to find out whether LePage’s threat was serious, or simply an off-the-cuff comment made in the heat of the moment.

Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, is co-chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, and was taken aback when she heard of the governor’s comment.

“The budget that we adopted in July had to be balanced, and it was,” she said. “Usually, it needs to be readjusted at some point because of shortfalls or cost-savings the state hoped to recognize. … If those cost-savings don’t materialize, that’s a shortfall. That’s why the governor has traditionally brought forward a supplemental budget to address any shortfall.”

Maine’s constitution requires the Legislature to pass a balanced budget, which it did in July. However, that budget included savings “placeholders” totaling about $74 million, to be realized by closing tax loopholes and about $34 million in savings to be found in the executive branch by the end of the budget period.

A task force is working on the tax loopholes, while the governor’s Office of Policy and Management put together a plan for the executive branch savings. The savings must be realized by June 30, 2015, when the biennial budget expires.

LePage has said he will not submit a supplemental budget to deal with any fiscal variations that will have occurred between the time the biennial budget was approved in July and the Legislature’s second session, which begins in January.

Rotundo said it was “unheard of” for a governor not to engage the Legislature in a budget update. She also said the governor was “picking a fight with the Legislature instead of bringing people together to find solutions to the problems facing the state.”

The tenor of recent volleys between the legislative and executive branches show just how wide the canyon between the two has become. The governor’s threat comes just a short time after Democratic leadership accused LePage of violating Maine’s constitution with a policy of keeping top administrative chiefs away from legislative committees and panels, opting instead to keep all communication between the two branches of government in writing only.

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Comments

Jason Theriault's picture

This should be good

He should totally sue them. This is gonna be hilarious!

CAROLYN LIBBEY's picture

One large peptic ulcer comin'

One large peptic ulcer comin' up!

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage threatens to sue Legislature over state budget

Mainers , Wednesday morning in Hawai'i •
LePage threatens to sue Legislature over state budget ?
Legislature threatens to sue LePage over non-compliance .. • breach of contract , etc
hth, Steve , Bates '78

Democrats are good at using

Democrats are good at using gimmicks, making things that are bad look good. The only thing is that the chickens are coming home to roost now. The true negative effects and cost of Obamacare. The real unemployment numbers which were fixed to get Obama relected. The lies about Benghazi and corruption with IRS. 2014 is going to be a bad year for Dems

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Dennis, are you on some kind of mission or what??????

At least there is one new crime pointed out regarding the Democrats attack on humanity. I never heard about the unemployment numbers being fixed to get Obama elected. When was there a need to break the law to get Obama elected. Between Romney and Ryan, did anyone actually believe they had a chance? I love how every comment or remark aimed at defending a Republican for doing something stupid, needs to be started with the worn out, lame claims about Benghazi, and the IRS. Dennis, just to refresh your memory. Any blame regarding Benghazi, should be place with who ever decided to cut funding to defend foreign embassies. In case you missed this little item, it wasn't the Democrats. As for the IRS, what exactly was the Presidents role in that little Republican Fantasy? It was just the result of the Republican conspiracy hunters jumping the gun before getting all the facts. Blaming the President for something he had no part of in the first place.
If you would like some real issues to be angry about, try educating yourself with the financial damage caused by our beloved Governor. This week, statements outlining the exact damage caused by the Republicans refusal to expand Medicaid. The true cost is in the tens of millions of dollars lost, in Maine alone, large numbers of people who won't be able to get health insurance. The confusion and time it will take to circumvent the federal exchange site, compared to the states who expanded Medicaid. The Republican Governors refusing to expand Medicaid are one of the key reasons the program is having so much trouble.
On top of all that, we have a Governor who wants to sue the Legislature. His own team doesn't know if this is a true assertion, or just another one of his stupid off the cuff remarks. This guy needs to be stopped. He's doing nothing but bog down any chance of actually accomplishing anything beneficial. I don't pay taxes just to pay a guy to disrupt government. He is not a one man show, his, isn't the only name on the list of characters. He is being paid keep all the different parts of government running together, not pound his fist and proclaim himself the almighty one. I'm really getting sick of his antics, and feel he needs to be taken out of office and replaced. Anyone could do a better job than he's doing........................

David Marsters's picture

Frank

Get a life and get your head out of the sand! Dems have screwed this country for years.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Well Mr. Marsters..............

The Dems may have been screwing this country for years, but not nearly as bad as LePage has been screwing this State. Open your eyes, and see the mess his twisted thought process has created.........................

Steve  Dosh's picture

Dennis ? huh ? Takes one

Dennis ? huh ? Takes one to know one •  http://www.sunjournal.com/news/city/2011/11/21/after-salmonella-outbreak... cluck . .cluck /s Steve :P

AL PELLETIER's picture

And Lepage?

Makes things that are bad look even worse.
I'm quite sure the republican teabaggers government shut down isn't going to make the repubs look great either.

Eric  LeBlanc's picture

The shutdown should have never ended

The shutdown should have never ended until that piece of garbage that is Obamacare was stopped in it's tracks. The republicans were trying to save America from this travesty. The democrats will go down on the wrong side of history for this and if justice prevailed many of them would be hanged.

 's picture

Keep him going!

Balance that budget! Get the state employees to do their jobs and see how much can be saved. Get rid of the paid sick days, and dump 2 or 3 of the paid Holidays they get as well. OH wait unions can't do that can we, hmmm to bad, guess they won't suffer like the rest of us.

Jason Theriault's picture

Where do you work?

Where do you work that you don't get paid holidays or paid sick time off?

Randall Pond's picture

IMPEACHMENT PLEASE!

IT TIME TO GET THIS WHACKO OUT OF OFFICE NOW! NOT NEXT NOVEMBER!

Paul LePage has been the Biggest Disgrace to the Governor's office since we began having Governors. Even Jock Mckernon who I loathed and hated wasn't as bad as the guy.

Anyone Dumb enough to vote to re-elect this man, is as Big a Fool as LePage is!

Steve  Dosh's picture

Randy ? We're with you on

Randy ? We're with you on this one. . . • He reminds us of Gerry Ford ( " Pardon me " ) who couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time ( tripping down the stairs of Air Force One ) :D /s , Dr. Dosh and ohana , HI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Wisconsin <-- didn;t work here , u n f o r t u n a t e l y :(

AL PELLETIER's picture

Makes me wonder,

How could anyone want to subject themselves to four more years of this total nonsense. If you vote for this buffoon, you asked for it.

David Marsters's picture

Makes me wonder

He has my vote. If you don't like him, move out of state or you run for Gov.

AL PELLETIER's picture

I have one more option, David

Vote for Mike!

David Marsters's picture

I don't think so.

I don't think so.

I guess I'm asking for it.

I guess I'm asking for it.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Denny ? You get what you

Denny ?
You get what you deserve in life
No more
No less :D hth /s Steve and friends
http://www.healthplans.com/form/?zip=04240

AL PELLETIER's picture

Dennis,

Good luck, but don't hold your breath!

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