Why Legislators Must Come Back to Augusta
Fiscal responsibility is something I take, as your Governor, very seriously.
Dear Maine Taxpayer,
The State of Maine does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. Revenues collected by the state are up and because of sound financial policies the State’s credit rating continues to improve. However, socialist politicians made some bad decisions before they went home and now the executive branch is paying for it – literally.
Simply put, the Legislature passed four bills that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I have no problem with the bills passing, but I do have an issue with the fact that our administration has no funding to pay for the bills.
If your family wants to go on vacation to Disney, but only has enough money to get to Fun Town, do you go to Disney anyway? Your household budget helps determine what you’re able to do.
In this case, the executive branch doesn’t have enough money to pay for all four bills. Therefore, I am prepared to call a special session to address the Legislature’s failure to fund these four bills properly.
The bills call for an unfunded study of ambulance services, an unfunded needle exchange program, addition funding to the County Jails and pay increases to Riverview State employees.
I am prepared to introduce a bill to legislators during the special session. The bill addresses the funding issues in a responsible manner, which avoids depleting existing resources and a fragile salary plan. However, I am also prepared should the Legislature refuse to address this problem to take action by Executive Order.
These are not decisions I take lightly, but they must make financial sense. The Legislature cannot pass bills with faulty funding. It’s a gimmick and I will not put the State at financial risk because of it.
So, legislative leadership has a choice. It can come back and deal with the fiscal issues it created and work with the administration to identify responsible ways to pay for these bills or we can go it on our own. Either way, I’m not planning a trip to Disney anytime soon, but I may go to Fun Town.
Paul R. LePage