(UPDATED) Despite Hours’ of Administration Testimony with Appropriations Cmte, Governor LePage Insists on Injecting Self into Legislative Process
UPDATED: Late Friday came word that the Governor now intends to be the one to testify before Appropriations in the future- and no one else from his administration:
- Gov. Paul LePage has instructed state department commissioners to stop appearing before the Legislature’s budget-writing committee.
If someone from the administration is asked to speak before the committee, according to the governor’s office, it will be LePage himself.
The administration’s order is in direct response to a clash last Sunday when the committee’s Democratic chairwoman refused to let LePage address the members.
House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, condemned the move on Friday, while a LePage spokeswoman said it should not affect the committee’s work and the administration will provide all necessary information to lawmakers.
We are in unchartered waters, people…
Wow. Someone in the Executive branch seems to have some difficulty with understanding how Maine’s co-equal 3 branches of government as per our state’s Constitution works, ie, Article III, that “Executive = Legislative = Judicial”, let alone that his role in the process DOES have limits in power.
48 hours after he tried to open a concluded work session he tried to gate-crash, the Governor has issued the following statement to Appropriations via press release:
Governor to Appropriations Committee: Mainers cannot afford a tax increase
AUGUSTA –Governor Paul R. LePage released a statement today after the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee refused to let him speak at an emergency meeting held Sunday to discuss a shortfall in welfare spending.
“I wanted to tell the Appropriations Committee that I sent a balanced-budget proposal to the Legislature that did not require supplemental budgets or increased taxes,” said the Governor. “I also submitted a bill to pay the hospitals, which could have saved jobs and put Mainers to work. But Democratic Legislative leadership and the Dems on the Appropriations Committee are playing games.
“Instead of taking care of the 3,100 disabled and elderly Mainers on a waiting list for MaineCare services, Legislative leadership is trying to tie another expansion of welfare to paying the hospitals. They have rejected all of my proposals to crack down on welfare fraud, and they are pushing for a budget that will have to be paid for with tax increases. I told them months ago that the supplemental budget was not balanced, but they passed it anyway.
“Leadership has shown that it does not care about Maine taxpayers. They are determined to grow government, expand welfare and raise taxes on hard-working Mainers to pay for it all. As your Governor, I will not raise taxes. And I am not going to shut down government. That is up to the legislature.
“My commissioners have worked long and hard to come up with budgets that make tough choices and face financial reality. The Appropriations Committee has treated them and the Office of the Governor with disrespect when we have explained that Maine taxpayers cannot afford another tax increase. If the only way I can make them understand that is for me to testify before the committee myself, then that’s what I will do.”
An interesting claim by LePage…
Here again is the video clip of Governor LePage attempting to interrupt the concluded first portion of Sunday’s Appropriations Committee work session.
Now, here is where it gets interesting- at what point “had the Administration not been entertained”, as the Governor claimed on Sunday? Or does he really see himself- and ONLY himself– as “The Administration”??
Let’s review. Here is the beginning of Sunday’s work session that started at 1:45pm, with 23:51 recorded:
Here is the conclusion of Commissioner Mayhew’s testimony with another 19:36 for DHHS/ the Administration to be heard:
And here is the testimony of Commissioner Millett- so add another 21:33 to the tally.
One doesn’t have to be a member of Appropriations to work these numbers! Both commissioners were allowed as much time as they wanted to use; at no point were either restricted from speaking freely to the committee.
Want a second source? Well, probably not the best available, but there was my first UStream recording attempt; there are 3 clips here for review, starting at 1:44 pm and concluding just past 3pm. The last one (45:40) captures not just the conclusion of Mary Mayhew’s testimony and all of Sawin Millett’s but also (and arguably most importantly) what exactly transpired at the conclusion of that portion of the work session between AFA Chair Senator Dawn Hill and Governor LePage.
It is clear- the work session agenda item focusing on FY13 Medicaid Shortfall had concluded. The Governor tried to inject himself into the legislative portion of the budget process. And unlike the last time he did so in January 2012, this time he was correctly denied the opportunity to do so.