LePage’s LD 239 “Act to Improve Return to State on Spirit Sales, Provide Source of Payment for Hospitals”
- Senator Tuttle, Representative Luchini and members of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. We are all here today to address a vitally important matter for th State of Maine and its future.
- Hospitals have been forced to lay off employees and keep positions vacant.
- Hospitals have been forced to deplete savings and some have relied on lines of credit to pay their own bills.
- Hospitals have delayed payment to local vendors impacting the financial status of of hundreds of small businesses in local communities.
- The hospital debt has delayed construction projects which could create hundreds of critically important construction jobs for Maine’s economy.
I have a plan that will pay back the hospitals, make the state’s liquor business more competitive with New Hampshire, and release millions to pay for clean water, transportation projects and start setting aside money for our depleted rainy day fund.
Under my plan, about $700 million would surge into Maine’s economy- and it could happen by this spring’s construction season.
I am not a fan of political games and the tactics used to derail this plan, which benefits not only hospital employees and construction workers, but also Maine consumers, small businesses and retailers, have frustrated me.
So, yes, I am frustrated. And I am passionate about our state’s future. I know firsthand now tough it is to go without a job, how scary it is to live without a safety net and how chilling it is to pile up bills that cannot be paid. I don’t want any Mainer to have to suffer like that, and I don’t want my state to operate that way.
If we are going to have a prosperous state government and make it affordable and efficient for everyone, if we are going to manage our finances responsibly and run our state like a business so we can help all of our customers- our fellow Mainers- then we must make the tough choices. We must make the right decisions.
We cannot play politics with people lives, and we cannot wait any longer.
On January 15, I announced a plan, emergency legislation, that pays nearly half a billion dollars in unpaid bills to 39 Maine hospitals.
Maine needs serious welfare reform so it can afford to pay for a quality safety net for our most needy. But that does not change the fact that the State owes $484 million on Maine’s hospitals- debt that dates back to 2009.
Paying this bill is the right thing to do. It will place Maine in better financial standing and enable the State to invest in bonds for hundreds of projects across Maine.
I recently discovered that Mainers’ earnings are lowest in New England. This income is a critical measurement of economic prosperity and demonstrates how Maine’s economy is doing.
Maine is struggling right now and Mainers deserve someone to push this jobs bill forward.
Our plan before you will create jobs in the health care and construction industries. I have letters from nearly every Maine hospital and the message is echoed: