LePage's "Twilight Zone"

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LePage's "Twilight Zone"

Post by T on Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:03 pm

Governor seems to live, act in his own reality

There’s something surreal about the way the current governor, Paul LePage, is conducting his fourth year in office.

We’ve all become familiar, through constant repetition, with the governor’s claim that those who want to provide health care to 70,000 fellow Mainers “lack compassion”.  dunno 

But it’s the way LePage pursues his claim that he alone can uphold the fiscal stability of state government where things really get weird.


*The Legislature had approved a bill to restore $40 million in municipal revenue sharing, with a grand total of one Republican senator opposed. LePage, who refers to this 40-year division of sales and income tax with towns and cities as “welfare”, did nothing. The constitutional limit for a veto passed, and the bill became law without his signature.


He (LePage) blamed Democratic leaders, and, alarmingly, seemed unaware Republicans had also voted overwhelmingly for the bill until reporters pointed it out.

There are multiple problems here that have as their common theme LePage’s desire to be sole arbiter of every question involving state government.

*LePage refused to submit a budget, even though the Appropriations Committee has been at work for months. Now he’s vowed to submit one covering only $21 million of a shortfall expected to exceed $100 million.

If lawmakers don’t like it (a la, kiss my ass  Mad ), he’ll resume withholding his signature from bonds until the rainy day fund is restored. But LePage had his chance to weigh in on how revenue sharing would be handled. He gave it up.


Giving up that prerogative is much like abdicating.

*it’s by no means clear the governor has any authority to interfere with bonds once they’ve been approved by the Legislature and ratified by the voters.

*He (LePage) touted a $2 billion, three-year plan to rebuild transportation infrastructure. The state doesn’t have the money beyond the first year, and even that’s dependent on a $100 million bond LePage now says should be re-impounded.

*It’s doubtful LePage can hold up bond issues. After they’re approved by voters, it’s the state treasurer who decides when they should be issued, in consultation with agencies using the funds. The governor’s role is limited to signing the warrant – more or less checking the box.

*There are good reasons for avoiding confrontation. When the governor’s office and the treasurer work together, the state can get better rates and terms. But if the logjam persists, the treasurer can go ahead solo.


Ironically, the financial uncertainty created by LePage’s many conflicting moves is what might ultimately cause a state credit downgrade.

*A $21 million withdrawal from the rainy day fund, by contrast, is no real cause for concern (with respect to credit ratings).

LePage assumes support even when he doesn’t have it. From Piscataquis County, one of the most Republican regions of the state, Sangerville Town Manager Dave Pearson had this to say:


“The governor seems to harbor a spiteful streak, and seems not to respect that other elected officials or the public vote has legitimacy as well as himself.”

GOP Congressman Dave Emery:


“Any good legislator, after awhile, transitions from the ideology to the intellectual, because there has to be an intellectual or logical content to the things you do and the work you choose to participate in.”

LePage didn't get the memo.


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T

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