UPDATED: LePage to GOP Lawmakers: “Support My Budget- Or Else!”

Posted on February 8, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

The bullying in the Statehouse by Governor LePage is no longer bipartisan, as we saw with his repeated pestering of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, showboating press releases and other stunts.

Now it appears that the governor is taking aim- at members of his OWN PARTY in the Legislature, going up for re-election in November:

“Republicans, who control the legislature, are working with Democrats to come up with a compromise plan that doesn’t cut as deeply as what LePage has proposed. That’s unacceptable to LePage, who says he would prefer the GOP to use its majority power to pass his budget.

He says if the compromise plan is unacceptable to him, he may spend the rest of the year campaigning for Republican legislative candidates who will support him.”

More from the Lewiston Sun Journal:

Although Republicans control both chambers in the Legislature, it didn’t appear Tuesday that their caucus was completely united behind the governor’s proposal. LePage acknowledged as much, saying that if lawmakers didn’t adequately address the structural problems in Medicaid, he’d spend the rest of the year campaigning for GOP candidates who would.

“We’ll see what happens this week . . . but it may be a situation that I need to go out campaigning for the next year and ask the Maine people to send people (to Augusta) who are willing to work,” he said.

It remained to be seen whether the governor would have to carry out his veiled promise to “primary” Republicans who don’t back his budget.

UPDATE: Amy Fried’s latest piece in the BDN
shows some very solid analysis of LePage’s position. As a bonus, it includes MHPC’s Lance Dutson’s press release on the compromise agreement, shoring up support for the governor while firmly scolding the GOP Appropriation members for compromising one whit:

“The people of this state finally said ‘Enough!’ when they elected a new majority to run this state government. The expectation was that Republicans would march into Augusta and turn back the tide on the crushing regulation and tax burden that had amassed over the years. In many ways, the new leadership has done just that.”

“However, the budget process has fallen prey to a troubling dynamic. Instead of being driven by the principles of lower taxes and fiscal responsibility, legislative leaders seem focused on decorum and consensus with a group of individuals that have already proven themselves poor stewards of Maine’s economy. Republicans were not sent to Augusta to coddle the likes of John Martin or Peggy Rotundo. They were sent to Augusta by the people of this state to clean up after them.”

Not holding back, is he? Dutson concludes with threats of his own against any GOP legislators who won’t toe LePage’s line:

“Now it appears this dynamic of cordiality has so blinded members of the Appropriations Committee that they are considering the unthinkable – using a tax increase on working Mainers to avoid making common-sense changes to Maine’s welfare system. This is an outrageous dereliction of the GOP mandate, and one that will not be suffered lightly by the already-suffering taxpayers of this state.”

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