Federal Government Shutdown Having Major, Immediate, Widespread Effect On Maine

Posted on October 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

In the days leading up to the federal government shutdown, some of Maine’s Congressional members warned constituents of the approaching crisis, with Rep. Chellie Pingree stating that the September 29 vote by the House GOP linking the budget to removing funding for provisions of the Affordable Care Act was “a reckless and irresponsible move on the part of House Republicans that has taken us one step closer to a government shutdown”.

A sign at the entrance of Blackwoods Campground in Otter Creek informs campers on Tuesday of the campground's closure because of the federal government shutdown. (photo credit to BDN)

A sign at the entrance of Blackwoods Campground in Otter Creek informs campers on Tuesday of the campground’s closure because of the federal government shutdown. (photo credit to BDN)

The Congresswoman also set up a web page (“Government Shutdown FAQ”), describing the potential effect on federal agencies and programs, if such a shutdown were to occur.

The nation watched and waited, as the efforts for a “clean continuing resolution” or a “CR” went back and forth between the two chambers in DC, with House Republicans refusing to allow a clean CR to come up for a vote in their chamber and the Senate Democrats voting down each and every House-passed CR with ACA-defunding provisions attached to it. Inevitably, America went into its first federal shutdown in seventeen years, as of midnight on October 1, with an estimated 800,000 workers nationwide immediately furloughed.

Here in Maine, experts announced that there could be “profound effects on businesses” from a prolonged shutdown for the state.

Maine Democratic leaders, who had faced similar gridlock and a potential shutdown locally earlier this year but managed to come together with enough Republicans to avert that situation by overriding Governor LePage’s budget veto (LD 1509) for our state were quick to respond:

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, right, and House speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, speak to reporters after both the House and Senate voted to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of the state budget, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, right, and House speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, speak to reporters after both the House and Senate voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the state budget, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

    “As lawmakers it is always our job to make sure government works for the people. We should question the motives behind those who work against us. The fact that one small group from one political party is blackmailing the rest of the country is shameful,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “Because of their actions, here in Maine, some folks will be prevented from moving forward with their home loans, thousands will lose their paycheck, and scores of businesses will be put on hold until this mess is cleaned up. I’m proud that in the Maine Legislature, we don’t behave that way. We show up and do our job—even when we disagree.”

    “The people of Maine and millions of Americans across the country woke up shaking our heads this morning,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves. “We are tired of Tea Party politicians who are more interested in running our government into the ground than making it work. Now, more than ever, we must collaborate to move our state and country forward. Democrats are committed to doing so as we head into the next legislative session.”

House-of-CardsBut when it was Governor LePage’s turn to respond, he minimized the effect of the Tea Party fueled shutdown with the following statement and mention of 280 furloughed federal employees:

“Although some positions and programs in state agencies are federally funded, all functions of state government will proceed as normal through the end of the week,” Governor LePage said. “The shutdown of the federal government is a result of the failure of leadership in Washington, D.C. A short-term shutdown won’t impact the operation of Maine state government. But if the shutdown continues for an extended period, then it could affect some state agencies. With the politicians constantly fighting over the budget, sequestration and the debt ceiling, in addition to $17 trillion in national debt, we cannot rely on the federal government to pay for public assistance programs or state services for Maine people.”

It has now been a week. Let’s examine the numbers of those directly affected here in Maine, shall we?

Front doors at Maine Department of Health and Human Services Disability Determination Office in Winthrop, 10/8/13.  Sign reads: "The Maine DDS is closed due to the government shutdown."

Front doors at Maine Department of Health and Human Services Disability Determination Office in Winthrop, 10/8/13. Sign reads: “The Maine DDS is closed due to the government shutdown.”

  • More than 200 federal employees at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor.
  • 280 immediately furloughed Maine Army National Guardsmen. Scratch that; try 400.
  • 44 more administrative Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management employees in Maine.
  • 56 SSDI health workers, with 52 of them, being the entire staff of the Disability Determination office in Winthrop.
  • “Thousands” of state employees”, possibly by the end of this week.
  • Potentially more than 500 employees of Defense Finance and Accounting Services in Limestone.
  • 1500 workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard were furloughed last week, with some now returning to work. As many as 2800 received furlough notices.

More layoffs, as provided by Maine AFL-CIO via press release last week:

  • In Cutler, 12 workers at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station are locked out of their jobs.
  • In Limestone, over 500 workers are still working but may be sent home without pay within days.
  • In Bangor and Portland, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists who inspect the planes we all fly on to ensure safety have been told not to come in, and others that are deemed essential are working without pay.
  • Across the state, OSHA inspectors who keep workplaces safe for all Maine workers are wondering when their next paycheck may be and how they will pay their bills.
  • In Augusta, workers who process veteran benefits at Togus in the VBA will likely be sent home within days.
  • In Kittery, thousands of workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are out of work and more are working but unsure if they will be paid.
  • In Bangor and Portland, Air Traffic Controllers are working without pay.

Today Rep. Pingree’s office announced that nearly 10,000 VA workers have been furloughed nationwide. It remains to be seen what effect this announcement will mean on those workers at Togus or the veterans receiving care. Her statement:

    “The shutdown has already slowed down the claims process and these furloughs can only make things worse. For veterans who have been waiting months or even years for the benefits they deserve, that’s outrageous,” Pingree said. “This is the latest example of the real pain that the shutdown is causing to families all across the country. It’s outrageous that Republican leaders are keeping the government closed because of their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act, and now veterans are paying the price. The VA has made it clear that if the shutdown goes into late October there could be a delay in disability payments,” Pingree said. “That would be a real hardship for veterans and their families. Not only is this a hardship for veterans, but also for the men and women at the VA who work every day to process claims for our veterans.”

A new study in today’s Bangor Daily News shows that the effects of the shutdown are hitting Maine especially hard, due to our large number of veterans and elderly population:

    The study, put out by the website WalletHub, says Virginia is the state most affected by the shutdown. Makes sense. Washington, D.C., ranks fourth on the list. Makes sense, too. But that’s just one spot ahead of Maine. Maryland — home to numerous federal offices and federal workers — is sixth, one slot behind Maine.

    So why does a shutdown hit Maine harder than it hits Maryland? It’s not because Maine is home to a disproportionately high number of furloughed federal employees — though the state has its share. Rather, it’s the state’s high concentration of seniors and veterans, its businesses’ dependence on loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the role real estate plays in the state economy.

We now enter Week #2 of the shutdown, with no end in sight.

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Governor LePage’s Mulligan

Posted on July 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

paul jebOriginally posted Jun 27 and now bumped back to top, as news has come out tonight that Maine’s self-proclaimed “blue collar” Governor Paul LePage, who last week denounced the state’s “country club Legislature” and said that he would be discussing options with his family regarding whether or not to run for re-election, announced before a hundred supporters at the posh Jeb Bush hosted, up to $3k per couple Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport fundraiser that he is indeed running for re-election in 2014.

(Video link here, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a few weeks’ ago had something to say regarding Jeb Bush’s decision to hold this fundraiser. She also took the matter up again on this evening’s show.)

It should be noted that the task of informing the world of this decision came not by press release nor traditional local Maine media, but rather fell to State Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) to deliver the news second-hand to the world, as Maine’s most transparent Governor instructed his senior political advisor Brent Littlefield to issue the following reminding email to Maine media late this afternoon:

    “Just a quick email reminder that tonight’s LePage event in Kennebunkport is closed press.

    There are no press avails before or after the event.

    Brent Littlefield, Senior Political Adviser to Governor LePage”

augusta cc

    mul·li·gan
    /ˈməligən/
    Noun

    1. A stew made from odds and ends of food.

    2. (in informal golf) An extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.

—–

UPDATED with earlier portion of the press conference that I missed; many thanks to PPH’s Steve Mistler.

UPDATE x2: Friday’s Portland Press Herald is chock-full of scathing missives today in Letters to the Editor: Governor disrespects people he serves.

—–

Yesterday after the House (114-34) and Senate (26-9) delivered crushing blows to Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1509, the FY 14-15 fiscal budget bill and in doing so avoided the first statewide government shutdown in over twenty years, the governor held a press conference in which he was a far, far more subdued man than just last week:

Via Steve Mistler, this earlier portion of the press conference:

    “I’m very disappointed on this budget. Until we start understanding what makes an economy drive and why the southeast and the southwest and the Atlantic states have such good economies, until we emulate some of their behaviors we are not going to be anywheres but 50th place in the country for doing business.”

    “It’s a real sad day for the state of Maine. We took, I thought, with the 125th Legislature, that we took two steps forward for the state. Today, I think we took three steps back. I really feel bad for today.”

While admittedly not a complete version of the Governor’s press conference (full audio here), the above was almost 15 minutes’ worth of it and many of Maine’s various media were in attendance, including reporters from formerly access denied Portland Press Herald:

    In an impromptu news conference right after Wednesday’s final override vote in the Senate, LePage reacted calmly, but strongly. He criticized Republicans and Democrats alike for a plan that “solidified our place as the 50th worst place to do business for the foreseeable future.”

    He said the Legislature is a “country club” where lawmakers are more interested in getting along with each other than with him.

Paul LePageAs Lewiston Sun Journal reported, LePage said he was considering his options:

    LePage said he would be consulting more with his family before deciding whether he would seek a second term as governor.

    I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we are going to be talking it over,”
    LePage said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how you recover from this. I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase. This is a giant obstacle. It’s like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.”

During the press conference, the Governor repeatedly called his originally submitted budget “a good budget” (so good that the silence from his caucus’ after the State of the State address was deafening) and repeatedly backtracked on his 2009 stance regarding revenue sharing.

To review the clip of 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage denouncing revenue sharing cuts to his then-city:

LePage was critical of the Democrats in leadership who would not talk to him about the budget, again called out the Appropriations Committee for not allowing him to speak on mic, in particular the Republicans on the committee and then called out House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) as “having not been around” to talk with or had been “unwilling to talk to me”, that the Republican Party is not a strong one currently in Maine, and was unaware that the energy omnibus bill that he had vetoed had been overturned in the House and heading for the Senate.

It needs to be noted that while many communities denounced the Governor’s budget, not a single one even attempted to pass a resolution supporting LePage, a point raised by Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) during this week’s Democratic leadership media availability event.

But apparently the coverage was not sufficient for the Governor, as he decided to declare yesterday’s disaster a “mulligan” and try again to explain himself to the Maine people, today going before the camera once more, with his office releasing the following footage this afternoon.

Roll the clip:

From the accompanying press release:

    Governor Paul R. LePage speaks out about why he could not support the Legislature’s budget, which included tax increases, in a new video released by the Office of the Governor.

    In the five-minute video, the Governor shares his thoughts about how higher taxes will affect Mainers and condemns decreased funding to programs like Jobs for Maine Graduates.

    In the video, he notes that tax increases will have a devastating effect on the elderly and Mainers who live within their own budgets. Sales, meals and lodging taxes will be increased to fund the state budget.

      “Retired mill workers living on fixed incomes; elderly widows collecting Social Security; and our veterans, who receive nothing more than their military pension—each of them care about this tax increase,” Governor LePage said.

      “We are already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. We have some of the lowest per capita income in the country. Now is not the time to ask Mainers to give more to fund government… For some legislators, it was more important to count votes and reject my proposals than do what is right for our citizens.”

      “Maine people deserve a considered, reasoned debate, and they will hold legislators responsible for their decisions… It is time to look past the next election and look forward to the next generation.”

    This sort of passive-aggressive communication by Maine’s Chief Executive brings back memories of the inexplicable and strange video released in last January, as former CBS reporter now LePage staffer Adrienne Bennett displayed a remarkable lack of journalistic integrity by “interviewing” the governor:

    Harder thrown pitches than these can be seen at a playground Whiffle ball game… Now, I love a good train wreck sort of news story as much as the next person, but this is just getting sad.

    In his opening statement, The Governor claims “not to be a politician and be a blue collar governor”. Gotta call a 1 stroke penalty for this one!

      Ann LePage:“He was what my dad always called a ‘white collar. My dad said, ‘Ann, for god’s sake, he’s a white collar. He doesn’t know how to work.’”

    LePage garners another stroke regarding the claims that the sales tax on meals and lodging will affect Maine businesses. Watch this from Rep. Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) from yesterday:

    Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth) agreed:

    And it goes downhill from there, enough so that Bangor Daily News shared Governor LePage’s “Mulligan” as part of a larger piece, asking “Does Governor LePage Still Matter?”

    Ouch.

    Then there is this: “Gov. LePage’s recent actions cry out for an intervention”.

    And this in the PPH. Maine Voices: Assistant GOP leader: Governor’s behavior sets unfortunate tone in Augusta
    .

    That one by Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) even made it into the Washington Post: Top Maine Republican legislator: ‘I am embarrassed’ by LePage.

    Heh. Wonder how Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) feels about that (“Top Republican”) interesting mistype?

    An argument could possibly be made that the Governor sees himself as having a “Tin Cup” moment, but the reality here is indeed something entirely different.

    Time to sign your card and call it a day, Governor…

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Maine House Floor Debate on LD 1509, Budget Veto Override (VIDEOS)

Posted on July 1, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

veto budgetSame as with their counterparts in the Senate, the House Republicans had nothing to say regarding the veto override vote (roll call).

Here are statements of House Democratic leadership and Appropriation committee member Rep. Peggy Rotundo (Lewiston), sent out via press release:

    “I thank the Maine lawmakers who worked tirelessly and came together to override this careless veto,” said House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. “We put to rest the specter of a state shutdown that has loomed over the Legislature for months. We made the responsible choice to support a bipartisan budget that blunts massive property tax hikes, puts money back into our classrooms and helps our seniors and people with disabilities.”

    The House Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, said the vote affirmed the “collaborative and responsible” work of the budget committee. “The bipartisan budget we again endorsed today will serve the people of Maine well. A government shutdown would not serve anyone,” said Rotundo.

    “I applaud lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for standing up to the governor’s reckless action and standing up for Maine people. The governor’s political games could have led to serious consequences: a shutdown of important services, property tax hikes, harm to workers and the health of our economy,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham.

    “No one got everything they wanted out of this compromise budget, but lawmakers were able to find common ground through hard work. They came together once again today for the well-being of our people and our state,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan.

Here is the order of speakers are the floor speeches from last week.

Floor speech of Rep. Jeff Timberlake (R-Turner) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Lawrence Lockhart (R-Amherst) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. David Cotta (R-China) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Ben Chipman (I-Portland) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Stacey Guerin (R-Glenburn) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Dennis Keschl (R-Belgrade) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Paul McGowan (D-York) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Peggy Rotundo (D-Lewiston) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Richard Malaby (R-Hancock) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Jarred Crockett (R-Bethel) on LD 1509

Floor Speech of Rep. Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Stanley Short (D-Pittsfield) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Kathleen Chase (R-Wells) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. James Campbell (I-Newfield) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Dick Campbell (R-Orrington) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Matt Pouliot (R-Augusta) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Erik Jorgensen (D-Portland) on LD 1509

(AUDIO) Floor speech of Asst Minority Leader Rep. Alex Willette (R-Mapleton) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Ray Wallace (R-Dexter) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Deb Sanderson (R-Chelsea) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Anne Graham (D- N Yarmouth) on LD 1509

(AUDIO) Floor speech of Rep. Wayne Parry (R-Arundel) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Majority Leader Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) on LD 1509

Floor speech of Rep. Andrea Boland (D-Sanford) on LD 1509

(AUDIO) Floor speech of Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette on LD 1509

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Weekly Address of Governor LePage: Protecting the Next Generation

Posted on June 29, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Audio link here.

Paul LePageMy fellow Mainers, as many of you may know, I grew up on the streets, and I’m a blue-collar Governor. I’m not a politician, and I tell it like it is.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Some say my language is colorful and refreshing. Others say it is rough and offensive. If I have offended anyone, I apologize. But folks, it is time to wake up. Sometimes the only way I can get your attention is to use straight talk.

Over the years, I’ve been criticized for my comments about the President and the dangers of the federal government growing too large and too powerful.

Since then, we have seen an administration embroiled in scandals over the IRS, Benghazi, drones, spying on the press and gun-running. Talk about offensive! And that doesn’t even include the 17 trillion dollars in national debt or a health insurance mandate that will crush the life out of the economy.

Some of my comments about politics in Augusta have also caused outrage. If the Maine people saw what really happens under the dome, they would be outraged too.

Politicians, lobbyists, unions and special interests ignore what is best for Mainers and fight to maintain the status quo. They work overtime to expand welfare and to grow government, and they will gladly increase your taxes to pay for it.

They would rather enact a bad budget that harms Mainers than make the hard choices and face the consequences at the next election. I find that obscene.

I proposed legislation that would reduce electricity costs for everyone, decrease taxes, reform welfare, create jobs and improve education. These proposals would benefit all Mainers.

But politicians work around the clock to kill common-sense legislation, just because I proposed it. They would rather ignore the best interests of Maine people than see the Governor get good legislation passed. That is truly offensive.

Being hateful toward me is one thing. But punishing Mainers just to see me lose is absolutely disgraceful. One Democratic leader told the media that it doesn’t matter what the Governor does because they have the votes to override the budget veto.

This kind of obstructionist has no place doing the people’s business. They come to Augusta to keep score for political losses and wins, not to do what’s right for the Maine people.

You won’t see these stories in the media. When the politicians step in front of the cameras, they say they are seeking bipartisan solutions to improve the lives of Mainers. Sounds good. Then they turn around, ignore the Maine people and get back to their score sheets.

Folks, if you believe the status quo is working, then you are sadly mistaken. I might have to use some street talk to wake you up.

Politicians strive to be politically correct and end up doing the wrong things. I’m not politically correct, but we strive to present good public policy.

I worked in the private sector as a successful turn-around consultant for failing businesses. I see our state as a failing organization in need of a turn-around. It will take tough decisions and bold moves to eject Maine from its status as one of the nation’s highest-taxed states and the 50th worse place to do business.

It’s not a job for the weak or faint-hearted. But Augusta is full of politicians who refuse to reduce the size of government. They refuse to improve education, and they absolutely refuse to reform welfare. They won’t consider resources that would reduce the cost of electricity for everyone. They won’t even attempt to lower your taxes.

Yes, folks, this makes me mad. And it should make you mad, too.

I came to Augusta to make a difference in the lives of Mainers, not to count votes and compromise my principles. I’ve told my Cabinet that if we are in Augusta only to get re-elected, we are in the wrong business.

We are not here to get through the next election; we are here to protect the next generation.

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Maine Senate Debate on LD 1509, FY 14-15 Biannual Budget (June 13 VIDEOS)

Posted on June 24, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As expected, today Governor Paul LePage vetoed the budget, aka LD 1509, “An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015”. On Wednesday, the 126th Legislature will reconvene to take it up in both chambers, along with a slew of other matters including ten bills vetoed late Friday and others today.

Here is the full list of Governor LePage’s vetoes of bills passed by the 126th Legislature.

IMG_4584When the Senate met the evening of June 13th to take up the budget, those who worked on the budget praised their fellow Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee members from across the aisle, their staff and clerks, for working so hard together to create a budget that, per Senator Pat Flood (R-Kennebec), won unanimous approval by the entire AFA Committee on every single line item of the 680 page document, individually and as a whole.

And as the votes were tallied, it showed that same as in the House (102-43, 6 absent) earlier, the Senate had passed the measure (25-10) with a super majority strong enough to sustain a veto from the Governor.

    “Lawmakers did the right thing by passing a budget that allows the state of Maine to keep working,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “In divided government, Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature worked together to pass a responsible budget that protects our schools, our property owners, and small businesses.”

Here are videos taken of the Senate LD 1509 floor debate, in order of speakers.

Appropriations Chair Sen. Dawn Hill (D-York) urges support for LD 1509, FY 14-15 Budget

    “As a committee and as a Legislature, we left politics at the door. We rolled up our sleeves and worked together to craft a responsible, bipartisan budget for the people of Maine,” said Senator Dawn Hill of York, the Senate Chair of the committee. “This is what we are expected to do. And I’m proud of our ability to work together despite our differences.”

Sen. Pat Flood (R-Kennebec) Speaks in Support of LD 1509, FY 14-15 Budget

Sen. Emily Cain (D-Penobscot) Speaks in Support of LD 1509, FY 14-15 Budget


    “This is a tough budget, but it is fair, and passing this budget is the right thing to do,”
    said Senator Emily Cain of Orono.

Asst Majority Leader Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) Speaks in Support of FY 14-15 Budget, LD 1509

    “This is not a perfect budget. But it is a budget that reflects the spirit of compromise and getting things done for the people of our state,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “This is the best compromise that I have ever been a part of and reflects how this Legislature is supposed to work.”

Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) speaks in opposition to LD 1509, FY 14-15 budget

Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau Speaks in Opposition to LD 1509, FY 14-15 budget

Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) speaks in opposition to LD 1509, FY 14-15 budget

Asst Minority Leader Sen. Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) speaks in support of LD 1509, FY 14-15 budget

Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall (D-Sagadahoc) Speaks in support of LD 1509, FY 14-15 budget

    “Every two years we take a vote that is perhaps one of the most challenging. It requires us to set aside our philosophical differences and do what is right by looking ahead to our future,” said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond. “This budget makes public education stronger and finally acknowledges the public service and dedication of our state employees.”

And now we wait.

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