AUGUSTA (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage maintained his hands-off approach in this year’s supplemental budget process right up to the end when he let the bill go into law without his signature.

The measure closing a $40 million budget gap this fiscal year and an $18 million shortfall in the one that ends June 30, 2015, went into law after midnight because the Republican governor took no action on it.

Governors typically propose supplemental budgets to the Legislature, but LePage refused to introduce one after lawmakers voted to override his veto of the $6.3 billion, two-year budget in June just days before a potential government shutdown.

LePage opposed that budget because it included sales and meals-and-lodging tax increases, and he said it wasn’t balanced. So he told lawmakers they were largely on their own in fixing its multimillion dollar shortfall, which is considered to be unprecedented.

Democrats, who control the Legislature, attacked LePage for not proposing a budget fix and claimed he was dodging his responsibility. Democrats on the Appropriations Committee complained that the administration made it difficult to do their job and wasn’t forthcoming with information they needed to craft their own budget.

The committee continues to work on the remainder of the 2015 budget.

Among other things, the budget appropriates $500,000 for Head Start programs, $9.5 million for schools and $4.5 million in merit and longevity pay for Maine state employees supported by sources like casino revenues and leftover money in the state’s now-defunct Dirigo health insurance program.

The measure was overwhelmingly approved by the House and Senate last month after a brief skirmish over Democrats’ decision to initially attach the fiscal year 2015 funding initiatives to a bill restoring $21 million to the rainy day fund, which was a priority for LePage.

Republicans and Democrats eventually agreed to vote on the two bills separately.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.