During Bangor refueling wing visit, LePage calls for cuts ‘until it hurts’

BANGOR, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage said the recent events in Washington related to the nation’s borrowing ability serves as a perfect reminder for why Maine needs to continue looking for ways to cut spending.

“We’ve been saying it for two years now that you can’t spend what you don’t have and it’s coming to roost,” LePage said Tuesday at the Maine Air National Guard’s 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor.

LePage and his wife, Ann, spent Tuesday morning aboard a KC-135 conducting a refueling mission to several F-16s based in Vermont. Once the two-hour mission was over and the massive gray plane landed safely on the tarmac in Bangor, the governor spoke with media members about the experience and about recent events.

Last week, after Congress and President Barack Obama reached a deal on a plan to raise the nation’s borrowing limit while cutting $2.4 trillion over 10 years, LePage responded by asking his state departments to trim $100 million.

Although the effect of federal cuts on Maine may not be known for months, LePage said the state can’t afford to wait. To accomplish such deep cuts, the governor urged departments to employ a zero-based budget approach, something he believes will help further streamline services.

The state already faces a shortfall of $25 million identified in the $6.1 billion budget that passed in June, but the governor said it is clear to him that $25 million will not be enough.

“We’ll see as we go along,” he said. “If you get to $25 [million] and there is still room and you get $50 [million] and there is still room and, if at $75 [million] it hurts, you stop.

“But if $100 [million] still seems easy, you go to $125 [million]. You go until it hurts.

“It’s just like a business,” LePage continued. “You get all the necessities done and you make sure the services are provided and you stop then.”

A 12-member state task force was created as part of the budget to find the $25 million shortfall. LePage said he would ask that same group to consider additional cuts as well.

However, Democrats on that task force say the group does not have the statutory authority to address any other cuts.

“We can certainly offer recommendations, but it’s not our role to find more cuts,” said Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake, a member of the task force and the lead House Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. “There are some people who think you can keep all these services and not pay for them.”

Some Democrats have said to keep essential services in place, new revenues or taxes might need to be considered. That idea could be a nonstarter with Republicans who already have indicated that some federal cuts may not be replaced by state dollars.

The budget task force, made up of lawmakers and members of the private sector, will meet for the first time Thursday morning in Augusta to outline goals and objectives.

The group is expected to make its recommendations by Dec. 15, but the Legislature will have the final say next year.

In Bangor on Tuesday, LePage was the first governor to take part in an orientation flight of the Maine Air National Guard since Angus King in 1995. He called the refueling mission an amazing thing to witness.

“To get a birds-eye view traveling at over 400 miles per hour, establish contact with another jet and transfer fuel is an impressive sight to see,” LePage said.

He also praised the men and women of the Air Guard who affirmed his belief that, “Our country is in good hands.”

Asked for her take on Tuesday’s flight, Ann LePage joked that “the seats are much more comfortable than regular airplanes.”

“The work our Maine Air National Guard is doing is a job that many of us aren’t aware of, but it’s a mission that is incredibly important,” the first lady later added.

Joining the governor and first lady were Col. Doug Farnham, Major Bill Dunn, Chief Master Sgt. Jay Ellingsen and Chief Master Sgt. Bob Phair, all of the 101st.

The Maine Air National Guard’s 101st Air Refueling Wing is a federally funded program of the U.S. military to employ air refueling, airlift operations and provide other support to ongoing military operations worldwide. It is the busiest refueling base in the entire country and employs more than 800 people.

Reprinted with permission from the Bangor Daily News.

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"RingaDingaLingaDinDinDin" "City desk here. How may I help you Sir?" "Cut that crap. Why didn't you publish my comment?" Pardon moi, Pardon my French, Monsieur, who the hell are you and what comment are you talking about?" "Je suis, le president, Oops, Governor, of the Maine. who the hell are you?" Sorry, Sir. I did not recognize your voice. Usually crank callers and habitual drunkards call this office at this ungodly hour. I did not receive any comment from you, Sir. Shall I wake up the editor? I am just a night watchman." "Go. Get your silly, hillbilly editor. Pronto, Oops, immediatement. Hurry, I ain't got no time to waste talking to a nigger."

The End.

I purposely wrote above funny comment. Not Paul LePage.

Please Allow me to quote from wikipedia:

"LePage has been criticized for statements that supporters have viewed as being part of LePage's plainspoken style. During the campaign, he told an audience that when he became governor, they could expect to see newspaper headlines stating, "LePage Tells Obama To Go to Hell." At the beginning of his term as governor, he was criticized for refusing either to attend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events or to meet with Maine representatives of the NAACP. When questioned, LePage said he would not be "held hostage" by special interest groups including the NAACP, and laughingly told a local news reporter, "Tell them they can kiss my butt." The remarks were reported in national media, with The Portland Press Herald saying that the comments "sparked outrage... among civil rights group leaders who called his remarks 'astonishing and troubling'". A LePage spokesperson responded, "He's got a directness about him that a lot of people find appealing". LePage's office later indicated that he would meet with NAACP representatives, but only to discuss matters of concern to "all Maine's people".
In February 2011, LePage again gained national attention when he spoke on a local TV news program saying he hoped to repeal the Maine ban of Bisphenol A, voted for unanimously by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection,[26] because "There hasn’t been any science that identifies that there is a problem” and added: “The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards....and we don't want that.” Maine women responded with "Little Beard Day", a Facebook organized protest that drew a response of more than 1,400. The Facebook page described the event as "...a response to (and attempt to match the absurdity of) the much-reported recent statements by our governor about the safety issues surrounding BPA." Women were invited to don “little beards" and post pictures at the Facebook site. On March 28, it was reported that the LePage administration had dropped its opposition to the new BPA regulations.[31] After a unanimous vote in the Senate and only three opposing votes in the House of Representatives, on April 22, the Maine legislature passed a bill to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and other reusable food and beverage containers, effective January 1, 2012. Governor LePage refused to sign the bill and it became law without his signature."

...and I am Sid Harth@mysistereileen.com

Joe Berry's picture

“It’s just like a business,”

Lepage saying "you go until it hurts" sounds as one sided as when he asked everyone to share the sacrifice for his budget proposal which gave tax breaks to the wealthy. If "it's just like a business" than most businesses also need revenue to stay afloat.

Dan Moody's picture

More Taxes

Hay why not more taxes on Cigarettes ? Maybe $2.00 a pack . or more ?

Maybe LePage should set an

Maybe LePage should set an example and take a cut in pay and benefits like he wants everyone else to...lead by example...

Bob Deschenes's picture

Cuts

Most of us been hurting for two years now. Still looking for that perect behind the store dumpster for food.

 's picture

Wow the draft dodger gets the

Wow the draft dodger gets the VIP treatment from the Maine Guard. Guess they have no standards.

Bob Stone's picture

That is a very strong accusation, Dan

1. Have you talked with Governor LePage and did he tell you he dodged the draft?

2. Or, are you surmising that he went to Canada to escape being drafted? Are you prepared to defame a man on the basis of your guess?

3. Do you attempt to defame people regularly?

4. Do you know the date of the Governor's graduation from Husson?

5. Do you know the Governor's draft status during his college years?

6. When did the Governor start and end graduate school?

7. When did the Vietnam War draft end?

8. Men born in what year were drafted first in the year after the Governor graduated from business school?

9. Was a bi-lingual accounting major sought after in the Maine and/or Canadian lumber industry in the mid 1970's?

I await the answers to these questions. I think an apology is in order to the readers.

Wilma Turcotte's picture

Hurt

You don't think people that worked all their life are being hurt supporting people that don't work? No one is putting everyone in the same basket but you have to be naive if you think there aren't people taking advantage of a steady income without working. Its easy to say no jobs out there now and true but when there was there were still women having one baby after another that I had to help support. If we don't have people to check to see if its done legally what do you suggest? Everyone that signs up for it gets in and boyfriends can move in and the check and food stamps increase. Schools are holding classes in trailers but we have to have nurseries. People that were down and out through no fault of their own would get assistance but not with no questions asked and not for a lifetime. They sell their foodstamps to buy cigarettes and in some cases drugs and its not just this state but still our money whether from this state or the US its still us. They buy lobster, pizzas, junk food and soda. None of which I was able to afford for my child and worked all my life. Welfare breeds welfare and there is no question about it. The money they would save on the fraud would pay a few people a good wage.

Wilma Turcotte's picture

Cuts

Time to look into the ones that are living off the state illegally or fraudulently. If you can afford 50 bucks a week for cigarettes then you need 50 bucks a week less from the state/gov. Other people have quit. Not only is it in your best interests healthwise but financially. People that have to earn there money will go without something if its to expensive including having children but those that live off the state continue to have babies and we make it easy for them to do so. Time to rein in all the easy money we hand out without checking to see if its being used wising or legally either. We have made it to easy. Working people don't have access to that kind of help. I don't have a cellphone cause of the expense but if your living off the state you get a free one. How dumb is that? If I couldn't afford a phone I just wouldn't have one among other things that living off the start you are able to have. Disgusting.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Who we hurt

So it is the poor we should be hurting? And we need to do this by hiring cell phone police, cigarette police and baby police? The state does not have enough money to hire people to inspect our food for ecoli and salmonella or to keep bridges safe or to monitor dangerous parolees but we are going to spend money for that? I can't help but wonder when I hear about how cushy it is to live on welfare why people aren't all quitting their horrible jobs and going for this good deal. If it's because they have pride or a work ethic maybe they should be thanking the people who gave them that because no one is born with it. And maybe they should not be looking down on people who were not fortunate enough to have received those gifts or scapegoatting them. Welfare abuse is a problem and I agree it should be corrected as should also tax evaders but you have to hire people to do that and the state is letting workers go to save money.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Hurts who??

Looks like the governor subscribes to the new TeaBagger mantra "We're gonna hurt some people". This is what we all want when we vote for a guy, right? I can think of one cut that really would hurt. Maybe we could do without the services of his daughter. Then again this is the governor who sat out the Vietnam war in Canada. He apparently believes hurt is for suckers.

 's picture

Since when? One person calls

Since when? One person calls me names on a daily basis and you do NOTHING. Why is there a double standard against moderates? Newspaper policy?

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