Governor calls on Democrats to stop holding the budget hostage

June 27, 2017

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

Governor Paul R. LePage is calling on Democrats to stop holding the budget process hostage just to appease union bosses at Maine Education Association, radical activists at Maine People’s Alliance and extremist environmental organizations.

“I have been negotiating in good faith,” said Governor LePage. “I have even gone beyond the spending limit of $6.8 billion in my budget and agreed to a $7.05 billion budget. But Democrats are still refusing to budge. They want to pour hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars into new education spending with no accountability and no reforms to our school systems. I have agreed to spend every penny of the revenue forecast to increase education spending by $125 million, as long as some of our common-sense education reforms are included. But Democrats are still demanding more, more, more. They do not care how much it costs the Maine people, they do not care if their tax-and-spend policies are driving people out of Maine and they do not care about the future fiscal health of our state.”

“If Democrats are truly concerned about reducing property taxes, they are looking in the wrong place,” said Governor LePage. “They have ignored my reasonable proposal to stop giving away property tax exemptions to rich land trusts and other wealthy non-profits that hold large tracts of land. They have taken hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of conservation land off the tax rolls, which increases local property taxes. I have suggested taxing this land to lower property taxes for all Mainers. But Democrats are more interested in kowtowing to wealthy environmental organizations, like Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Coast Heritage Trust, than protecting the Maine taxpayer.”

The Governor said a shutdown can be averted if the Democrats agree to the fiscally responsible budget proposed by House Republicans. “House Minority Leader Ken Fredette and the House Republicans put a budget on the table, and the Democrats ignored it,” Governor LePage said. “If they agree to that budget, I will sign it.”