UPDATED: As Now 80 Maine Towns, Schools (5/29/13) Pass Resolutions Opposing LePage Budget, Gov Urges Towns “Work Together”

Posted on May 28, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

UPDATED 5/29/13: Total now stands at 80 communities and schools.

lepage head 2At long last, Governor LePage has finally chosen to directly address the ever growing number of local municipal and school district voter passed resolutions against his administration’s biannual budget with its zero revenue sharing scheme- by essentially throwing his hands in the air and telling the towns to figure out the problems among themselves.

What is going to be interesting to watch is how the GOP in the 126th Legislature react- as the governor insists on dragging them down with him.

Via press release:

      Governor Urges Town Officials to Work Together to Find Solutions to State Budget Woes

    AUGUSTA – Hoping to encourage municipal officials to offer solutions about the upcoming biennial budget proposal, Governor Paul R. LePage today released a letter to city and town officials. The Governor acknowledges in the letter the opposition many mayors, city managers and selectmen have against his budget plan, and he admits it is not a budget he enjoyed putting forward.

    “The problem is there are only three large budget areas – education, welfare and revenue sharing,” wrote Governor LePage. “We cannot cut $200 million from debt service – the State must pay its bills. The Judicial Branch costs $100 million – courts are already behind, and I will not cut them further. Other core state functions – State Police, Corrections, our Natural Resource agencies – have been cut to the bone to feed continued growth in education and welfare spending, and they cannot be cut further without reducing public safety or our future economy. That leaves only the three large pots of money, and I chose revenue sharing.”

    In the letter, the Governor attached total general fund appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014-15, which shows the bulk of the budget – 44.8 percent – allocated to education. The Department of Health and Human Services uses 35.2 percent, and the remainder of State government accounts for 20 percent of general fund spending.

    Regardless of whether Governor LePage’s proposed cuts are ultimately implemented, Republicans believe local government must participate in making government at all levels more efficient.

    head scratcherAs Mayor of Waterville for eight years, the Governor was able to balance budgets while reducing property taxes. Working together with a Democratic City Council, he was able to decrease spending and lower taxes. A temporary loss in revenue sharing does not mean that property taxes will automatically go up. That is a local choice. It is not impossible for local government to save money, consolidate services and identify priorities.’

    “Most letters I receive say we made the wrong choice and that we should restore the $200 million subsidy to municipalities, but they do not suggest other cuts that should be made at the state level,” said Governor LePage. “It is easy to find fault and hard to find solutions. I welcome any suggestions town officials have to cut elsewhere in the state budget, but it is time for everyone to set complaints aside and offer solutions.”

    Governor LePage also extended an offer to assist town and city officials if they need flexibility from the State to reduce their own budgets. “If there are proposals to reduce administration and overhead by sharing services between towns, we will support them,” he said.

Just a reminder of what the former Waterville mayor now Governor LePage said about proposed revenue share cuts to his city in 2009:

The clip’s descriptive:

    During a 2009 city council meeting, a foul-mouthed Mayor Paul LePage attacked then-Gov. Baldacci for “sticking it to the property taxpayers” when a recession-induced revenue collapse forced across-the-board budget cuts. Gov. LePage is now proposing an even greater tax shift that favors rich Mainers at the expense of Maine’s middle class.

Updated list of municipalities and schools as of 5/17/13:

map

(This list will be updated as more municipalities submit their passed resolutions to the Legislature. ~AP)

*RELATED: Video: Did 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage Rip 2013 Governor LePage For Revenue Sharing Cuts To Towns, Education Funding Failures?

UPDATED: 62 (And Counting) Maine Municipalities, Schools Pass Resolutions Opposing LePage Biennual Budget (LR 1046)

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