In the past, Governor LePage has stuck with a position of preferring that Maine voters decide whether or not to support various gambling issues (be it racinos, slot machines, casinos or what have you).In fact despite strong House support, LePage threatened to veto 2 bills this past legislative session. Legislators were forced to pull both bills and now the Maine voters will ultimately decide the fates of the proposed Biddeford and Washington County facilities (Question 2) and Lewiston casino (Question 3) onto the November 8 ballot.
Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he doesn’t think Maine can support five gambling facilities, just days before voters are set to decide the fate of two gambling-related referendum questions.”I don’t see how the state of Maine can afford five casinos,” he said during a speech at Colby College. “I’m also very, very comfortable in saying five casinos will never be built in Maine. The population can’t support it. One or two, maybe three, at the outside.”
Spokesperson Adrienne Bennett backed up LePage’s statement that seemed to suggest that having 5 casinos would create TOO many jobs for Maine.
LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said after the event that the governor is raising questions about whether a state with 1.3 million people can support five gambling facilities.”It is a fair question,” she said. “Do we have enough people to sustain those jobs if we have five casinos in the state?”
Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert understandably reacted strongly to LePage’s statement:
Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert, who is campaigning for Question 3, said he was “very disappointed” with LePage’s comments. He said they run counter to the governor’s strong faith in the free-enterprise system and his desire to improve the state’s business climate and create jobs.”I think he put up a sign that said, ‘Open for business.’ Well, this is a business. This will bring economic development and jobs. Let the free market determine how many casinos suffice. Let the free-enterprise system work, and see what happens,” Gilbert said.
Government professor Sandy Maisel selected and read the questions, which included inquiries about how the governor plans to address an anticipated shortfall in federal funds used to pay for heating oil for the poor.“I am going to ask the Legislature to take some money out of Efficiency Maine to help with this,” he said.
Efficiency Maine, which is funded through a surcharge on electricity bills, regional greenhouse gas funds and federal money, is a program that offers incentives for businesses and homeowners to reduce energy use. LePage said there are long-term projects that have been funded, but the money for the home heating program is an immediate need.
I found this non-answer to a question regarding how to encourage college students to stay in Maine after graduation very oddly phrased; is this in part why his daughter Lauren (shown here channeling her best “Liz Cheney”) is raking in $41k a year as a state employee, with free room and board at the Blaine House?
“What we need to do is keep more of the parents here,” he said. “If you’re really stable in an area, you will get your kids to come back. And when they come back, you can’t get rid of them.“