AUGUSTA — Flanked by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he would push Maine lawmakers to pass a resolution urging Congress to create an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require the federal government to maintain a balanced budget.

LePage and Kasich, both Republicans, said the issue of balancing the federal budget in a regular and meaningful way was not a matter of partisan politics but a fiscal necessity that would spare future generations from unstoppable government debt.

“This is not a Republican issue; it is not a Democrat issue,” Kasich said. “For our perspective it’s about the next generation. For me, it’s pretty simple, if we keep spending our kids’ and our grandkids’ money they are not going to have a future that rivals the future that our parents and grandparents gave us. For me, it’s a moral issue.”

Kasich, widely believed to be among the top Republicans considering a bid for U.S. president in 2016, demurred when asked about a possible presidential campaign, noting that he’s been working on the issue of a balanced federal budget for decades.

“I don’t know whether I’m going to run for president or not,” Kasich said. “But whether I do or whether I don’t, I’m not going to give up on this until I’ve done everything I feel that I can do to get it done.”

LePage said it was the right role for governors and legislatures across the nation to push for a federal budget that’s balanced.


“Governors across our nation have the responsibility to ensure their state has a balanced budget,” LePage said. “We suffer from an enormous debt that is going to prevent future Americans, your children, my children, our grandchildren from experiencing the American Dream the way we know it. We in the state don’t have the ability to spend, spend, spend.”

Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, announced Thursday with LePage and Kasich that he would sponsor a resolution in the Legislature that would see Maine join 27 states in calling on Congress for a Constitutional Convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

If an amendment were adopted there, the issue would go back to all 50 states; voters in 37 of them would have to approve the change for it to go into effect at the federal level.

“The reality is that Washington, D.C., is broken and the two parties don’t work well together,” Thibodeau said. “And I think Maine is a great example of how the two parties can work well together, and they have to because we have a balanced budget amendment.”

Thibodeau said making Congress play by the same rules as most other states would go a long way toward breaking the seemingly unending gridlock in Washington.

Having to reach a compromise on the state budget was always a difficult but rewarding task, Thibodeau said. “We work collectively together to come up with what we both can live with,” Thibodeau said. “Maybe neither party is happy, but we both can live with the end result. That does not exist in Washington, D.C., today.”


Democratic leaders in the Maine Legislature were quick to criticize LePage and Kasich on Thursday.

“Right now, the Legislature should focus on creating good jobs and strong wages in our state, not playing presidential politics,” House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, said in a prepared statement. “Our economy lags behind the nation, with job growth and wages lagging behind. As leaders, we must get our state back on track, not grandstand on political gimmicks that will cripple our economy and critical investment in our future.”

Since January, Kasich has been traveling to states around the U.S. pushing for a convention. In 2013, Ohio became the 20th state to join the call. If Maine joins, it would become the 28th state to do so.

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