LePage to be the only official to testify to Legislature
by Andi Parkinson
AUGUSTA -- Friday, Gov. Paul LePage declared that he would be the sole person from the administration to speak to the Appropriations Committee in the wake of that body's refusal to 'entertain' the governor after hearing testimony from both Sawin Millett and DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew on a possible DHHS shortfall during a work session a week ago Sunday.
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.
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.
Forty-eight 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.
“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.”
Here again is the video clip of Governor LePage attempting to interrupt the concluded first portion of Sunday’s Appropriations Committee work session.