FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2013
Contact: Ann Kim [Berry], 233-1838; Ericka Dodge [Goodall] 232-5892
AUGUSTA – Democratic legislative leaders on Friday responded to Gov. Paul LePage’s refusal to sign the $153 million supplemental budget.
"The overwhelming majority of lawmakers in both parties agreed that this was a more responsible budget than what the governor originally proposed. Looking ahead to the biennial budget, we hope lawmakers from both parties will reject the governor's tax shift to local communities and come up with a more balanced solution," said House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham.
The Maine House and Senate passed the budget this week with votes of 129-14 and 33-0, respectively.
The governor announced that he would not sign the budget in a letter to the Legislature on Friday. The bill becomes law with or without his signature.
"The Legislature did its job by paying its bills and restoring balance to the budget as required by our Constitution," said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond. "It is unfortunate the governor continues to use rhetoric and mischaracterizations rather than making government work."
Text of the Letter February 22, 2013
Dear Honorable Members of the 126th Legislature:
Despite the authority vested in me by Article IV, Part Third, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Maine, I have decided not to veto LD 250, "An Act To Make Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2013." Instead, I will let the bill go into law without my signature.
Nevertheless, I am writing today to express my deep concerns with this bill. Specifically, the funding requests brought forward by the Department of Health and Human Services were ignored by millions of dollars without any justification. The committees that worked on this bill arbitrarily decided to not fully fund our requirements because they wanted to restore funding in other programs. That is not a responsible way to budget and I am concerned the Legislature may have forced us to return with another request before the year ends.
Taking money from various other programs to pay for one we cannot afford is irresponsible. Instead of dialing for dollars or robbing Peter to pay Paul, it is time to summon the courage to make real, structural changes. We can no longer promise everything to everyone - hardworking Maine families cannot afford it. That is why I call on each and every one of you to be willing to say 'no' during the next round of budget debates -we need to be honest that government is larger than we can afford. It may not be easy and it may not be popular, but it is time to stop hiding from tough choices. It is time we get spending under control. For the benefit of the State of Maine, it is simply something we must do.
Paul R. LePage