Lawmakers Override Governor’s Budget Veto – LePage Considering Future As Maine Governor 

There hasn’t been a state government shutdown in Maine since 1991. That could have been Maine’s fate if lawmakers failed to override Governor LePage’s veto of the state budget. LePage vetoed the budget on Monday saying he opposed, among other things, the inclusion of temporary increases to the sales tax and the meals and lodging tax. The issue of whether or not to sustain or override the veto brought fierce debate in the House where some Republicans stuck to their guns, saying passing a budget that increases the sales tax and the meals and lodging tax was a slap in the face to hard working Mainers.”Our dollars are buying less and less every day and now we’re going to tell them that don’t give Augusta enough. That they’ll keep less of their their hard earned money because we legislators just can’t stop spending it. Mainers cannot afford anymore state taxes to feed the wasteful inefficient beast that is Augusta,” said Amherst Republican Lawrence Lockman.Meanwhile Democrats warned of the consequences of a government shutdown.”Well at the height of our tourist season to the industry it means no lifeguards. No fishing licenses issued. No boat registrations. No open and maintained state parks,” York Democrat Dawn Hill said.Both the House and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto, avoiding a shutdown.LePage had called on lawmakers to pass a 60-day spending plan to keep the government operating while they work out a new budget. Attorney General Janet Mills told lawmakers that passing a 60-day spending plan was unconstitutional since the Maine constitution requires a balanced budget to be passed by July 1.But the governor said Mills gave the legislature “bad advice.” “That’s not what the Constitution says. The Constitution says the state cannot spend more than it takes in,” LePage said. “We could have avoided a shutdown. There’s no need for a shutdown. We could have had an agreement to move forward for 60 days to see if we couldn’t find a better place than to raise taxes.”A clearly dejected LePage told reporters he wasn’t surprised by the vote and had some harsh words for the legislature.”If any of you have read history you remember that during the Revolutionary War Cornwallis won most of the battles and he lost the war. That’s how I feel.”LePage said the blame falls on Democrats and some Republicans in the House and Senate calling the legislature a “country club” where they care more about “getting along than to get along with the executive branch.” “I’ve tried but the Democrats don’t want to negotiate. Do you realize they’ve passed a budget. They’ve sustained an override and no one in the Democratic party in the state of Maine has never asked me a question about my budget? I’ve said the Democrats didn’t talk to me much, neither did Republicans.”LePage said only Senate Republican Leader Mike Thibodeau from Waldo County and a handful of Republicans discussed the budget vote with him.The governor also backed off a statement he made last week saying he will not run for Congress, but said Wednesday’s vote now has him second guessing a run for a second term as governor.”I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we’re gonna talk it over. This is a pretty serious setback for the state of Maine. Quite frankly, I don’t know how you recover from this. I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase when you are one of the worst states to do business in.”