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Governor Vetoes Welfare Expansion, Re-introduces Bill to Pay Hospital Debt

May 23, 2013

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 23
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today started the process to veto a bill that would have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for welfare expansion and re-introduced his own bill that would pay the hospital debt and secure a lucrative deal for the state’s liquor business.

At a public ceremony in the Hall of Flags, the Governor signed the letter to veto LD 1546 just minutes after it was enacted. The bill, “An Act to Strengthen Maine Hospitals, Increase Access to Health Care and Provide for a New Spirits Contract,” tied payment of the hospital debt to welfare expansion.

“Democrat leadership has spent the past week forcing this bill through the legislative process, over the objections of Republicans and Democrats alike,” the Governor stated in the veto letter. “This unadulterated partisanship tied two different issues together in a quest to force welfare expansion upon the Maine people. I have said all along this bill would receive a veto when it reached my desk, so this letter should be no surprise.”

The Governor noted there is bipartisan agreement that his original plan to pay the hospital debt by using revenue from a new liquor contract was the best option.

“That is why I have filed a Governor’s bill today reflecting the parts of LD 1546 we all agree on—paying the hospitals and ensuring the liquor business provides the best return for the state—without the forced expansion of MaineCare,” the Governor stated. “The Legislature will have the opportunity to vote up or down to pay the hospitals—I trust you will do the right thing.”

As a gesture of good faith, the Governor also directed the State Treasurer to prepare the voter-authorized bonds for his signature. “I will sign them as soon as this new Governor’s Bill is enacted,” the Governor stated.

The Senate voted on the final enactment on LD 1546 early Thursday afternoon. To view the Governor's veto message click the link below.

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