BREAKING: Governor LePage Reneges on $100M Jobs Bonds; Bounces $59M State of Maine Check

Posted on February 20, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

bounced check(Breaking story; this will be updated)

Via Maine Senate and House Democrats came the following press release within the past half hour:

      LEPAGE RENEGES ON STATEWIDE JOBS BOND CONTRACTS
      Seven months after authorization, Governor changes mind

    Augusta – In an email to State Treasurer Neria Douglass, Governor Paul LePage reneged and cancelled his authorization of nearly $100 million in bond monies for projects across Maine.

    Douglass shared the message with the state’s budget writing committee on Thursday afternoon during a previously scheduled briefing on the state’s debt service or interest for the bonds.

      “Governor LePage has broken a $59 million contract with businesses and workers across Maine. The line has been crossed when the governor’s emotional volatility starts hurting Maine’s economy and Maine’s workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “I am concerned for the businesses and projects that have started their work and now hear that the governor has changed his mind.”

    According to Douglass, per the directive from Governor LePage, she has already issued $59 million in funding from the state’s cash pool to help fund key projects in the administration’s work plan. These projects were approved and signed off on by Governor LePage and his department officials on July 31, 2013.

      “The Treasurer raised serious concerns about the message the Governor is sending to credit agencies and businesses. He’s broken his word,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe from Skowhegan. “Worse, he’s playing games with critical investments in construction projects like roads and bridges that will help Maine’s economy.”

    LePage has a track record of using bonds as political leverage with the Legislature. He refused to issue the voter-approved economic investments during his first two years in office, stifling economic growth and job creation.

    Two weeks ago, during a Maine Chamber of Commerce event, LePage threatened again to withhold bonds if the Legislature passed a measure restoring the state’s funding promise to towns and cities across Maine. Both bodies of the Legislature passed the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support, reaching a veto-proof, two-thirds passage with votes of 33 — 2 in the Senate and 120 — 17 in the House.

    Maine now ranks 50th among all other states in private sector job growth since January 2011, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Data.

Below is the email that Treasurer Neria Douglass sent Governor LePage on February 10th:

    From: Douglass, Neria R
    Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 5:03 PM
    To: Millett, Sawin; Butera, John
    Subject: Bonds in FY2014


      Hello, Sawin and John.

      I am concerned that recent newspaper reports state that the Governor is now saying he will not go to market and will withhold state bonds.

      So far the Treasurer’s Cash Pool has expended $52,114,073 in funds that will have to be replaced by the sale of bonds before the end of this fiscal year. We have requests for $84,042,798 that include $21 million for Transportation, together with a long list of other projects. Maine Maritime, the University of Maine, and the Maine Community Colleges are moving forward with projects that I expected to fund from the TCP and then reimburse from the sale of bonds.

      I would appreciate your thoughts on this problem. I am reluctant to continue funding while these statements are being made publically. Of course underwriters and others read the newspapers too.

      Best,
      Neria

    Neria R Douglass JD CIA
    Maine State Treasurer

lepage sots angry selfHere is the reply Douglass received this morning and shared with Democratic leadership, as referred to in the above press release:

    From: Mullen, Micki
    Date: February 19, 2014, 8:45 AM EST
    To: Douglass, Neria R
    CC: Butera, John , Millett, Sawin , Newman, Kathleen
    Subject: FW: Bonds in FY2014

      Treasurer Douglas,

      The Governor responded to your email as follows:

        Neria,

        I will not approve going to market until there is $60 MM in the Rainy Day Fund. I will not subject the state to further credit reduction. In the past the Treasurer would keep the Governor updated on cash expenditures, you have chosen not to.

        Governor Paul R. LePage

      Thank you,

      Micki

    Micki Mullen
    Executive Assistant to Governor Paul R. LePage
    State House Station #1
    Augusta, Maine 04333-0001
    Phone: 207-287-3531
    Fax: 207-287-1034
    Visit: http://www.maine.gov

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(UPDATED) Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Warns that “126th Isn’t Over Yet”; “Playing Politics is Easy, Governing is Hard”

Posted on July 12, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: Apparently Senate President Justin Alfond also took offense with much of the Governor’s weekly address, as he issued this statement moments ago:

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)

      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.”

    ###

Audio link and link to address as shared by the governor’s office.

All other links below are not as originally shared, nor are stresses. ~AP

——————————————————————————————–

St. Patty's DayMaine’s first 126th Legislative session was plagued by misguided priorities and political games.

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.

Paul LePageOne Democrat even said he’s “more inclined to believe our local superintendents than a military recruiter.”

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.

    Maine's First Lady Ann LePage attends VA ribbon cutting ceremony in Lewiston with US Congressman Rep. Mike Michaud, who is now running for her husband's office in 2014.

    Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage attends VA ribbon cutting ceremony in Lewiston with US Congressman Rep. Mike Michaud, who is now running for her husband’s office in 2014.

    Repeatedly the job of honoring Maine’s citizens who have served their country has fallen to 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.

    Here are statements released from Maine veterans serving in the 126th Legislature, regarding LD 1503, link to the various roll calls here:

    “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.

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(UPDATED) Despite Hours’ of Administration Testimony with Appropriations Cmte, Governor LePage Insists on Injecting Self into Legislative Process

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

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:

paul staring at camera

    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.

But, this is hardly news to anyone around Augusta… and now hardly news to the Feds as well.

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.

    100_5379“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:

DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew Testifies Before Appropriations (Part 1)

Here is the conclusion of Commissioner Mayhew’s testimony with another 19:36 for DHHS/ the Administration to be heard:

DHHS Commissioner Mayhew Concludes Her Testimony; Governor LePage Enters Appropriations Hearing

And here is the testimony of Commissioner Millett- so add another 21:33 to the tally.

Financial Services Commissioner Millett Testifies; Governor LePage Listens From Audience

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.

agenda afaWant 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.

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