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Governor’s Address: There is no amount of your money the Legislature will not spend

I’ve said it for years, and I will say it again. There is no amount of your money the Legislature will not spend.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

The State of Maine cannot tax-and-spend its way to prosperity, but the Democrats are doubling down on spending. My biennial budget calls for $6.8 billion, which is more than enough to fund government and meet the needs of Mainers.

The Democrats want to boost spending to $7.5 billion. Hard-working Mainers should be outraged by this kind of reckless and unnecessary spending.

In January, I presented a balanced budget that is fiscally responsible. It essentially flat-funded Executive Branch agencies and made an effort to reduce spending and the growth of government.

In six years, we have gotten Maine’s fiscal house in order—despite the Legislature’s insatiable appetite for spending your tax dollars. We reduced Maine’s structural gap by $1 billion dollars. We repaid the $750 million Medicaid debt to Maine’s hospitals.

We took back and restructured the state’s liquor business, which enabled us to pay back the hospitals and provide a much better deal for Mainers.

We reduced our pension liability from $4.1 billion to $2.4 billion—a decrease of 41 percent.

Fiscal responsibility is not about spending money to fulfill political promises for the next election. It is about how government can best manage Maine taxpayer dollars.

Unfortunately, the Legislature has a history of careless spending. In 2015, the Legislature passed a budget, over my objections, which increased spending to $6.7 billion. That was $300 million more than the previous budget!

This time around, Democrats are attempting to spend money we don’t even have yet. They are dreaming of uncollected online revenues, a 10.15% income tax and unrealistic expectations of “economic growth.”

Lawmakers don’t need to look far to find several states that are facing projected budget shortfalls: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oregon, Wisconsin, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.

These states failed to make the fiscally responsible decisions necessary to resolve the deeply entrenched budget problems they have faced for decades.

We have been working for six years to put the State of Maine on a stable, financial footing, rather than scrambling to fill budget gaps. But the Legislature has continued with their cavalier spending spree every year.

Democrats claim to respect the will of the people, but they are disrespecting you and your tax dollars with this kind of outlandish budget proposal. We cannot go backwards to the days of massive budget holes filled with one-time gimmicks.

We urge all hard-working Mainers to contact their legislators and tell them to stop using your money for their irresponsible spending spree.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

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