LePage should stick to the facts, not political ploys

Gov. Paul LePage has shown a disconcerting tendency recently to either mishear, misinterpret or misquote important information he has been told by federal officials.

In the long run, the mistakes will hurt the governor's credibility or, worse, could lead legislators to enact budgets based upon bad information.

In mid-December, LePage told a crowd at Mt. Abram High School that a member of his staff had talked to Forbes magazine about how Maine can improve its dead-last ranking in the magazine's annual survey of business-friendly states.

LePage said the staff member was told by Forbes that state government must cut spending, reduce energy costs and address structural problems like welfare costs.

One small problem: Forbes told the Governor's Office no such thing.

"I certainly didn't say anything about welfare costs," Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen told the Sun Journal. "I didn't tell them they needed to reduce energy costs. I told them, basically, the best thing they could do, and that any local government could do, was just to try and create more jobs."

Welfare costs aren't even part of the magazine's calculations. Instead, Forbes tracks 37 data points in six categories: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

The governor could argue, of course, that cutting welfare costs might reduce the cost of government, which could reduce taxes, which are a business cost.

That's fine. But it was misleading to suggest that Forbes magazine had endorsed his solutions.

Now the governor seems to have conflated or confused a conversation he had with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last April.

The governor is trying to cut $220 million from the state's Medicaid program, but that would require a so-called Maintenance of Effort waiver from Sebelius' department.

The governor said he was told in April the state would have to make cuts to the program before Sebelius' department would consider granting the waiver.

That, as some legislators have pointed out, would be risky. The state could adopt a budget based upon the cuts, only to learn later that the cuts were not permitted.

Contacted by the Sun Journal, federal sources refused to confirm Sebelius gave LePage such advice and declined to confirm that the DHHS cuts are necessary to obtain a waiver.

Confronted with that information, a LePage spokesperson said the administration knew it could apply for the waiver at any time and that cutting the budget first was meant to "put pressure" on the federal government to grant the waiver.

If we understand that correctly, the idea would be to knowingly create a budget crisis and then shift the blame to the feds.

That would be playing politics with benefits that thousands of elderly and disabled people depend upon.

Two states have thus far asked for waivers. One request has been denied and the other is pending.

That's not reassuring, and it would be unwise for the state to build a budget on that basis.

Beyond that, the governor needs to be forthcoming in his dealings with the Legislature and Maine's people.

These are important issues, too important for political sleight of hand and gamesmanship.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage should stick to the facts, not political ploys

We agree ?
. . l o l 12.01.13 Friday the 13 th 11 am
Republicans' inaction , Democratic action
He said: "The interior department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the commerce department handles them when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."
ref : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-16555832
All talk and no action ? Who ?
Aloha from Pahoa
Happy Year of the Dragon . . .

DONALD FERLAND's picture

It's pretty sad when

It's pretty sad when republicans are looking at who is more electable during this primary season versus who has the best ideas to lead this country forward. Makes one wonder why. Maybe it is because the republicans really are clueless as to what the American people want. Well this voter wants to know how they are going to get this economy going and how they are going to create jobs and what they are going to do for the elderly, veterans, and children and what they are going to do for education of the next generations. Republicans need to take a long look in the mirror if all they are voting for is who is most likely to win against President Obama.....And before Mark starts....I am NOT a democrat either and have my issues with them as well....

Mark Elliott's picture

Perhaps, Tina, you should

Perhaps, Tina, you should ignore the childish crap the news channels (FOX especially) are perpetuating, open your mind and THOROUGHLY read Newt Gingrich's 21st Century Contract With America. -> http://www.newt.org/solutions/jobs-economy

He has had this plan since day one, but the media is only concerned with perpetuating any and all negativity that will ALWAYS show up in any election.......weed through the crap and research each candidate's plan on your own.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Well Mark....how about

Well Mark....how about this....I don't have hours in my life where I can research what every candidate has for a plan. It is up to them to make sure people are aware of their plans and what they intend to do....regardless...it doesn't matter at this point as I will not vote during the primary (or caucus as is the case here) so I will let others determine who they think is the best candidate and then I don't have to waste so much time that I don't have. All I have heard to this point is petty bickering and bashing and it does not interest me to have my time wasted with the nonsense.

Mark Elliott's picture

It doesn't take hours

It doesn't take hours Tina.......and I am sorry you don't feel the primaries and caucuses are important enough. That's your opinion, just don't complain about the candidate that is chosen since you have decided not to voice your opinion as to which one we should have on the ticket. As I said, ignore the media and simply read their plans. The media is where all the petty bickering is spotlighted. There is only 6 plans to read. If you wait till next week there may be only 4 but don't wait till we have decided for you.

http://www.newt.org/

http://www.mittromney.com

http://www.ronpaul2012.com/

http://www.ricksantorum.com/

http://jon2012.com/welcome/home.html

http://www.rickperry.org/

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Mark, you just don't get

Mark, you just don't get it....I am NOT a registered republican nor am I a registered Democrat therefore I have no say in the caucuses so my opinion at this point about who to vote for is not a factor. (unless we live in New Hampshire now). So why waste my time when I can not officially vote for anyone until November....

Mark Elliott's picture

Allow me to remind you of

Allow me to remind you of what you said in your original post that started this conversation: "Well this voter wants to know how they are going to get this economy going and how they are going to create jobs and what they are going to do for the elderly, veterans, and children and what they are going to do for education of the next generations."

I simply supplied you with the sources of info you requested.......if you don't wish to take a moment to read them, well then I guess you wasted your time asking the question.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

OK Mr Know it all...you know

OK Mr Know it all...you know all and no one else can have an opinion

Mark Elliott's picture

It's all right there for all

It's all right there for all to see.......

Jason Theriault's picture

The problem is Republican have Obama-itis

It's like the Republican's have a fever, and the only cure is more cowbel...I mean Obama.

Look at the primary results. The number one reason people voted for Romney is they think he can beat Obama. What happened to having ideas? Hmmm? At least Cain had a plan, even though he lifted it from "Sim City". But this obsession with defeating Obama isn't going to cut it with moderate voters. I almost voted for McCain last time(Palin closed the deal for Obama for me), but there is no candidate on the republican side who I take seriously because they all seem hell bent on appeasing the conservative side of the party and their number one concern is beating Obama. And as a moderate, they is one big turn off as I am open to voting for either side, but I want ideas.

Mark Elliott's picture

Old story, intentionally

Old story, intentionally republished by the LSJ to start an argument. Liberal comments below prove that's all these guys want......

 's picture

So because...

...it's an old story, it's less true I guess. Like your governor, you don't want to be bothered with facts. Believe me, I completely understand.

Jason Theriault's picture

No and No

No, we weren't looking for an argument, we just expect a response similar to the "Obama is evil" letter to the editor, just from the other side.

And this isn't an old issue. The newsest part is that the federal government didn't confirm what LePage said he was told, so it looks like he's being less than truthful.

Mark Elliott's picture

we have a democratic fed that

we have a democratic fed that is hell bent on taking control back away from republicans and away from US and you expect their word to be accurate? Come on, I know you're smarter than that Jason.

Jason Theriault's picture

A few things

I assume by fed you mean Federal Government(as opposed to meaning the Federal Reserve). First off, I think you have the parties backwards. The Republicans are hell bent on regaining the Oval Office. Now, it is still early and the only real campaigning is for the Presidency, so that may be it. But this is the first time that I can remember that the biggest issue concerning primary voters was getting the current president out. Not creating job, improving the economy or anything like that. Just getting the current president out.

And the issue the Sun Journal seems to be objecting to is that LePage wants to force through cuts that are will change. If the current cuts get voted through, and then the CMS says no to a waiver, those cuts will have to come from somewhere else. He'll end up decimating programs he doesn't like, taking cover behind the argument "We don't have a choice, the cuts have to come from somewhere...Obama made me do it." while in reality, it would have been a self made problem.

This whole thing make me want to see where the $200 million shortfall is coming from even more. I want to make sure this isn't another self made problem.

Mark Elliott's picture

"But this is the first time

"But this is the first time that I can remember that the biggest issue concerning primary voters was getting the current president out. Not creating job, improving the economy or anything like that. Just getting the current president out."

This is the first time I can remember a president who's primary issue was forcing Americans to become so entitled by destroying jobs and destroying our economy. So yes, the quickest and easiest way to jobs and economic recovery is to remove the cyst that is causing the failures in the first place!

Jason Theriault's picture

Hyperbol

How is he destroying jobs? The unemployment rate is dropping, so if he's trying to destroy jobs he sucks at it, and we should keep letting him try.

You may disagree with his policies( I do on many of them), the problem is that Republican's are focused on being anti-Obama. Anything Obama passes, they swear to undo, like Obamacare. "Ok, cool, so then what's your plan to fix healthcare?" "Kill Obamacare"."Healthcare was broken before Obamacare, what's your plan?""Obama's a muslim! Birth certificate!"

Mark Elliott's picture

Do you mean, the unemployment

Do you mean, the unemployment rate that dropped in December? Probably because of the usual "holiday hiring" we have EVERY year? Today's news confirms it, you spoke too soon on this one! --> http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/12/unemployment-claims-spike-aft...

Read the news before commenting on it....

If Obama were less "anti America", we wouldn't be so hell bent on firing him but since he is destroying everything America stands for, it is ALL of our responsibilities to fire him.

Jason Theriault's picture

No

No, I don't just mean last month. I was talking about from the high during his first year where we we deep in the recession at 10% to now.

Now answer me this, how is he anti American? Huh? How is he for destroying everything America stands for. You're not thinking logically.

Jim Cyr's picture

Anti-American??

How about the pipe line or how about Boeing in Carolina? Or better yet, how about the 10% tax on tanning parlors? Not only Anti-American but a RACIST. Who goes to tanning parlors? Or how about all those CZARS, is that American? Or how about taking from Peter to give to Paul ?? A review of the Constitution and the Federalist Papers is in tall order, Mr. Theriault. Give us a break!!

Mark Elliott's picture

and don't forget: Stripping

and don't forget:
Stripping states rights (tenth ammendment)
Forcing Americans to buy a product or service (Obamacare)
constant attempt to violate our second amendment

Jim I hadn't thought of the tanning tax that way...makes sense. I doubt his wife goes to a tanning parlor.

Mark Elliott's picture

OBAMA's wife Dan!

OBAMA's wife Dan!

Mark Elliott's picture

There goes Dan shoving words

There goes Dan shoving words in our mouths! It isn't the parlors, it is the TAX on tanning parlors. That amounts to a tax only on "fair skinned" people.

Jason Theriault's picture

Ok, replying to everything:

Ok, replying to everything:

Pipeline – Obama's not against it, but he is against circumventing procedures making sure it’s safe.

Boeing in Carolina - NLRB dropped it suit against Boeing

10% on tanning beds- Really? That’s what you coming with?

Forcing American’s to buy a product (Obamacare)- Not forcing you to buy a product, will just tax you if you don’t have insurance.

10th and 2nd amendment stuff – Too vague, examples please.

So far, I don’t see anything that makes Obama out to be destroying America, but keep trying.

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage should stick to the facts, not political ploys

åll, 5:30 pm Weds
Selective hearing ? Dead-eye Dick Cheney , Condi Rice , and A G John Ashcroft had that problem , also
Yes , it's always fun when the LSJ ® picks a fight , Stig :) This is a worthwhile one
We've all said here B 4 - " Don't confuse Republicans with facts ."
" That's fine. But it was misleading to suggest that Forbes magazine had endorsed his solutions. " Misleading , misepresentations , misquotes , i.e., lies . . Mince no words next time ?
Laugh if you even - c a r e - what Malcom Stevenson Forbes jr. , The Capitalist Tool , has to say . Didn't he also run for President once as a Republican ? A; Yes ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Forbes
What ever happened to Sarah and Bristol Palin n e way ? Inquiring minds want to know why your very Hon. Senator Susan Collins doesn't run for President . Hillary is SECSTAEE now
Love this paper /s, Steve

KRIS KUCERA's picture

LeRage resembles . . .

. . . the portly, hot-tempered man who owns Tom during the lousy Gene Deitch years ('60-'62) of Tom and Jerry.

 's picture

Scott, Walker, Kasich, LePage the lies just keep on coming.

Elected in 2010 to restore jobs because that's what they promised, these new completely dishonest Republican Governors haven't even tried to create a single new job in the private sector. Cut earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare; deny state and private workers their fundamental rights, cut jobs, cut regulations so that businesses can loot the state and federal treasuries unfetterred, adopt big government intervention into the most private areas of our lives like abortion,religion, and denying the old, sick, and young their right to vote.
Fooled once etc

Jason Theriault's picture

Grabs popcorn....

It's always fun when the SJ picks a fight.

Jason Theriault's picture

....waiting

Come on guys! I'm waiting here.

I mean, have you accepted defeat?

AL PELLETIER's picture

Jason

I hear crickets too.

 's picture

It's all just BS

lie after lie after lie. It started in the campaign, his buffalo and black fly count being the most famous early fib, and has continued through his first year almost non stop.
Here's the latest, and it's kind of a golden oldie he's used before. a representative from the japanese auto industry visited Maine, and of course no one outside the governor's office knew if it happening, but the rep said they would be glad to open up here if the utility costs were lower.
I call BS to that and challenge anyone in state government to prove that actually happened.
This governor is an embarrassment, he's like a 12 year old making up stories to keep frm being punished for throwing a baseball throw the garage window.

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