Maine’s Majority: LePage Must Substantiate Allegations Labor Mural “Robbed” Unemployment Funds”

Posted on September 29, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

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Just released
; here are a few key pieces:

It appears LePage is now taking issue with a portion of the mural expenditure that was paid for with federal Reed Act unemployment insurance funds. However, in April of this year an official with the U.S. Department of Labor informed the Maine Department of Labor that the the mural expenditure was justified:The Reed Act permits a participating state to use its Reed Act funds, under an appropriation by the state legislature, for the administration of its [Unemployment Compensation] law and public employment offices. The state properly complied with this requirement in paying, under an appropriation, 63.39 percent of the commission from the Reed Act funds in its [Unemployment Trust Fund] account, since the display of this art work in your headquarters served these administrative purposes.

Indeed, a 2003 Maine law, LD1552 “An Act To Allocate a Portion of the Reed Act Distribution of 2002 To Use for the Administration of the Unemployment Insurance and Employment Services Programs”, set aside $9,760,000 of a $32,486,816 Reed Act grant to pay for administrative expenses, including expenses associated with offices, technology and accessibility.

The mural funding in question appears to have come from this administrative allocation, not from the remaining monies which were reserved to provide unemployment benefits.

 
PPH Opinion
adds the following calling out:

That’s news to us, and apparently we’re not the only one to miss it: Attorney General William Schneider has filed a content-based defense of LePage’s actions on free speech grounds, arguing that the mural depicted the views of the Baldacci administration and LePage was entitled to express his own by taking it down.The governor should get his story straight. If he has no objection to the mural’s content, he should explain why the state’s lawyers are in court claiming that he does

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