(UPDATED) Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Warns that “126th Isn’t Over Yet”; “Playing Politics is Easy, Governing is Hard”
UPDATE: Apparently Senate President Justin Alfond also took offense with much of the Governor’s weekly address, as he issued this statement moments ago:
ALFOND RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR’S RADIO ADDRESS
AUGUSTA— Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland released a statement in response to the following assertion made by Governor LePage in his radio address:
“Playing politics is easy; governing effectively is hard. As Chief Executive, I take my responsibilities on behalf of the people of Maine seriously.
Our Administration has worked hard to change the attitude within government and has brought more transparency to government than any recent administration. We work with citizens and businesses to solve problems. We strive to be efficient and responsible with taxpayer dollars. And we only introduce public policy that benefits Mainers and our state.”
President Alfond replied:
“The governor certainly has changed the tone in Augusta. He has made politics one of the most contentious and divided in our state’s history. He has vetoed more bills than any other governor, he has lobbed insults that require censorship on TV, and he has continued to put his stubbornness ahead of the best interests of Maine people. We deserve better than this.
The governor’s radio address shows no connection to what he does every day. It’s insulting that he thinks Mainers aren’t paying attention and that he thinks he can get away with his irresponsible behavior.”
All other links below are not as originally shared, nor are stresses. ~AP
Democratic leadership chose their strategy, which was to attack and delay.
Hello. This is Governor Paul R. LePage.
Playing politics is easy; governing effectively is hard. As Chief Executive, I take my responsibilities on behalf of the people of Maine seriously.
Our Administration has worked hard to change the attitude within government and has brought more transparency to government than any recent administration. We work with citizens and businesses to solve problems. We strive to be efficient and responsible with taxpayer dollars. And we only introduce public policy that benefits Mainers and our state.
There are nearly 500 new bills that will become law in October or earlier as a result of this session.
In one of the most appalling moves of the session, however, some Democrats took a stand against the Administration at the expense of our military men and women. A Governor’s bill was submitted supporting Maine’s uniformed military members having access to public schools.
Military recruiters told our Administration several schools in southern Maine only allow minimal access of recruiters. Those high schools brought to our attention were Oak Hill, Noble, Wells, York, Kennebunk, Gorham and Yarmouth. We also were informed that two additional high schools, Portland and Yarmouth, refused uniformed recruiters from stepping on campus.
Democrats have claimed there is no problem, but in the same breath some Democrats have said uniformed military service members may intimidate high school students. So, the father or mother who arrives in uniform to pick up their child from school is threatening? The thought is preposterous.
I’d bet my life on the word of a recruiter over a superintendent any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
As I prepare to go to Gettysburg, I am disgusted by these behaviors. The Democrats blatant rejection of this bill sends a message to all military service members – past and present – that they are not welcome in Maine’s public school system. The disdain is evident and it is a sad day for Maine when we cannot come together in agreement to support our troops.
Maine has a proud and long-standing tradition of service to our state and country. We have the largest number of veterans per capita in the nation and we owe our heartfelt gratitude to our troops who defend our freedom and sacrifice time with their family, friends and communities to serve.
NOTE: It is well known that our governor himself, unlike many men of his age, was not in the military during Vietnam and in fact, was living in New Brunswick raising his first family at the time. Paul LePage never served in the military in any capacity and has in fact been a harsh critic on numerous occasions of our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama.
First Lady Ann LePage, who has done a far better job of representing our state well than her husband ever could; our state is and should be grateful for and proud of our First Lady’s tireless work. That Governor LePage is speaking up so strongly is just another example of odd and inappropriate behavior, which the state has gotten rather used to over the course of his tenure.
“I’m a Vietnam veteran. I have a Bronze Star. I belong to the American Legion. But I don’t want to see this sort of cynical misuse of patriotism for political ends,” said Rep. Charlie Priest, D-Brunswick. “This issue is about local control. It’s not about whether we love the military or not. Of course we love the military.”
Priest is a Navy veteran who earned a Bronze Star for his service in the Republic of Vietnam in 1970 and 1971.
“I’m very disappointed that this bill was used as a political tool to try to divide us. I’m a veteran and I’m a patriot. I know what side I’m on,” said Rep. John Schneck, D-Bangor, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Navy and is a member of the American Legion. “As far as I can tell, the ‘problem’ the bill addresses doesn’t exist. No factual evidence of a problem has ever been produced.”
“This bill is a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t appear to exist. We want our military to succeed and we also want to leave decisions to educators and parents in keeping with our time-honored tradition of home rule,” said Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay, the committee’s House chair.
Military service is not for everyone and this bill did nothing to force students into serving. It simply forbade school administrators from refusing recruiters in uniform to visit with students interested in exploring life’s options.
I encourage Mainers to find out where politicians stand on this important common sense bill before they cast their next vote. I assure you that this will not be the last time this bill is introduced.
I do not form opinions about policy based on party lines. Our Administration identifies the problem, reviews the options, and develops a plan. I stand by my principles and I don’t know any other way than to fight for what I believe in.
Maine has challenging issues that must be addressed. While we have the lowest unemployment rate in years, we need to become more competitive.
Electricity prices must be lowered and government spending must be curbed. I want Maine businesses to have the opportunity to thrive and create new jobs, and I want you to keep your hard-earned money not give it to government.
Furthermore, the taxes the Legislature just raised on you were completely unnecessary.
NOTE: Um… who’s zooming who? His own PARTY offered their own late budget, as it became readily apparent that the LePage budget was set to force municipalities to raise taxes on every Mainer, to counter the unfunded $400 million tax cuts to the wealthy passed by the GOP led 125th Legislature.
Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), called the proposal from legislative Republicans to restore $368 million to the state budget “a step in the right direction.” But he cautioned members of the Legislature’s budget-writing appropriations committee to reject the Republican proposals to tax nonprofits and take over the assets of the Maine Health Access Foundation to raise additional revenues and seek other “realistic revenue alternatives.”
“Yesterday, legislative Republicans acknowledged the need to break with the governor and restore $368 million to the state budget in order to avoid property tax increases on hardworking Maine families,” Martin said. “Some of the most conservative members of the Republican Party joined in this appeal that includes new revenue. MECEP has maintained all along that Maine working families need a budget that funds our schools, protects our elderly and disabled, and gives our economy a boost without crushing property tax increases. Republican admission that additional revenues are needed to balance the budget is a step in the right direction.
Yesterday’s proposal did not include realistic revenue alternatives,” Martin said. “The proposals to tax nonprofits and take over the assets of the Maine Health Access Foundation amount to a ‘hail Mary’ pass in the wrong direction. There are much better alternatives that we urge members of the appropriations committee to consider.”
Perhaps Governor LePage was somehow unaware of the effects of his budget as proposed upon his former city of Waterville… a reminder, via current Mayor Karen Heck:
Karen Heck, Waterville’s Mayor, has long been outspoken in her criticism of tax cuts and how those cuts affect municipalities, as was her predecessor, Paul LePage. She laid out a bleak picture:
“Even the best of these (Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee) proposals means a loss of nearly 50% million to municipalities over the next two years. We have been cutting services and trimming payroll for several years. We simply cannot absorb that kind of cut without raising taxes. Revenue sharing is an obligation, a bill the state should pay.”
He also has yet to acknowledge this clip:
I don’t know what Mainers will remember most about this first session. Perhaps it’s the recruiter bill or maybe that the hospital welfare debt was finally paid. Quite frankly, the tax increases disturb me the most.
(Or maybe it will be these… )
More on that last, as LePage’s repeated statements of how the Administrations’ words were not heard by Appropriations is an out-and-out bald-faced lie. Both Commissioners Mayhew and Millett were heard by the AFA committee and the Governor knows this to be true. The Governor’s arrival to AFA on May 19th’s special session was at the 15 minute mark of this 45 plus minute recording:
And the way I look at it: the 126th isn’t over yet. So, in January we will have a plan. A plan that repeals the tax increases and is designed to move Maine forward.
The question is will Democrats choose to fight against me again or work for the Maine people.