Governor Unveils 2-Year Budget To Lawmakers 

In his 37th day as Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage outlined his two-year financial plan for the state, a plan he says will put maine on a path to fiscal responsibility. “State government has been paying many of today’s bills with tomorrow’s money.”LePage told lawmakers the state owes twice as much in debt over the next two years than they expect to collect in revenue and proposed a number of ways the state can cut spending. “No new bonds, borrowing, or deferred payments of any kind over the next two years,” he told lawmakersThe governor also called for changes in the state pension system he says will save over $500 million, including no cost of living increases and raising the retirement age for state workers to 65.Those changes would allow a $63 million dollar increase in local aid to education. “We cannot mortgage our children today and expect to have prosperity tomorrow. The hard work starts now.”The Governor painted a grim picture of the state’s financial situation, saying if Maine were a business, it would be in chapter 11 bankruptcy. That didn’t sit well with some democrats. “It’s hard when you’ve been at the table for the past several years balancing some of the toughest budgets Maine has ever seen, tougher than the one that’s currently before us, to then have it referred to in a very flip way like your house somehow wasn’t in order when in fact our budget has been balanced,” said House Minority Leader Emily Cain.Democrats also say some bonds will be necessary for projects like bridge and highway repairs. “I-95 needs about $15 million worth of repairs and painting now and these are big ticket items, so i think we will have to look at bonding for that and I think the people of Maine would want that. It’s the gateway of Maine.”LePage says while everyone will share some of the pain, he’s confident his plan will move the state in the right direction. “The good news is we have the will, the power, and the desire to with the legislature to solve the problem.”