News

  • 22 May 2013 11:21 AM | Deleted user

    Governor to Appropriations Committee: Mainers cannot afford a tax increase

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage released a statement today after the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee refused to let him speak at an emergency meeting held Sunday to discuss a shortfall in welfare spending.

    “I wanted to tell the Appropriations Committee that I sent a balanced-budget proposal to the Legislature that did not require supplemental budgets or increased taxes,” said the Governor. “I also submitted a bill to pay the hospitals, which could have saved jobs and put Mainers to work. But Democratic Legislative leadership and the Dems on the Appropriations Committee are playing games.

    “Instead of taking care of the 3,100 disabled and elderly Mainers on a waiting list for MaineCare services, Legislative leadership is trying to tie another expansion of welfare to paying the hospitals. They have rejected all of my proposals to crack down on welfare fraud, and they are pushing for a budget that will have to be paid for with tax increases. I told them months ago that the supplemental budget was not balanced, but they passed it anyway.

    “Leadership has shown that it does not care about Maine taxpayers. They are determined to grow government, expand welfare and raise taxes on hard-working Mainers to pay for it all. As your Governor, I will not raise taxes. And I am not going to shut down government. That is up to the legislature.

    “My commissioners have worked long and hard to come up with budgets that make tough choices and face financial reality. The Appropriations Committee has treated them and the Office of the Governor with disrespect when we have explained that Maine taxpayers cannot afford another tax increase. If the only way I can make them understand that is for me to testify before the committee myself, then that’s what I will do.”

  • 22 May 2013 11:20 AM | Deleted user

    Governor Signs Suicide Prevention Education Bill, Pledges Money to Train School Staff

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today performed a Ceremonial Signing of a bill that will ensure the staff of all Maine schools is trained in suicide education and awareness and additionally pledged $44,000 from his contingency fund to support that effort.

    Joining the Governor in his Cabinet Room for the signing of LD 609 “An Act To Increase Suicide Awareness and Prevention in Maine Public Schools” were more than a dozen suicide survivors, staff from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Maine Department of Education and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and legislators.

    Family and friends affected by suicide shared their emotional stories with Governor LePage for about a half hour Tuesday. After the signing, the Governor said he was going to go one step further by providing $44,000 from his contingency fund to help support school personnel training that will be needed as a result of the legislation. “This bill has my full support, and I want to ensure that teachers have the training they need to move forward and make a difference,” said Governor LePage. “I would like to work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to make this a matching challenge for communities across Maine,” the Governor added.

    The law requires all staff of Maine schools to participate in a one-to-two- hour suicide education and awareness training. It also requires one staff for every 500 students in each school district to complete a day-long Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training so they can serve as a specialized resource for those with the basic training.

    Trainings will need to be renewed every five years. This bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and was signed by the Governor last month.

    Representative Paul Gilbert (D-Jay) sponsored the bill and attended today’s signing. "I find that it is the most important bill that I have ever presented, and I can't see any other bill being more important than this one,” he said.

    Schools districts will need to have school personnel trained by the end of the 2015-16 school year to comply with the requirements of the law. There are a variety of options available to schools for meeting these requirements including already existing trainings offered by the Maine Suicide Prevention Program around the state. An online option is being planned. Districts are encouraged to review their crisis response plans including response protocols for completed or attempted suicides as they move forward with the in trainings.

    For more information about suicide prevention in Maine, visit www.maine.gov/suicide/.

  • 20 May 2013 11:39 AM | Deleted user

    The following is the weekly message from Governor Paul R. LePage. To listen to the audio visit the Governor's website.

    My fellow Mainers, there are two things you should know about a government shutdown. First, I have no plans for a shutdown. And second, a shutdown is not up to me. It’s up to the legislature.

    Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

    The majority party in Augusta has been busy distracting you from the real issues. But time is running out, and they have yet to pass a budget.

    The so-called Gang of 11 has proposed a sleight-of-hand plan that gives with one hand and takes with the other. It does not cut one dime of state spending; it does not limit the size of government; and it does not reform how we do business. This plan simply lets legislators avoid making tough decisions and paves the way for more taxing and more spending in the next budget.

    Another plan, which is incorrectly called a “tax fairness” bill, recycles a bogus talking point in Maine: “Tax the rich.” This plan to punish successful Mainers by taking more of their money wouldn’t raise enough to fund the wasteful Legislative budget. I guess there aren’t enough rich people left in Maine to tax.

    Folks, this is getting ridiculous. More than four months have passed since I proposed a balanced budget. My budget is not tied to any other complicated issues, and it does not raise taxes on Mainers. I examined the revenue we have available, and I proposed a budget that fits within that revenue. We simply cannot spend beyond our means.

    But Democratic leadership still wants to spend, spend, spend undefined regardless of how much revenue we have. They are fighting to make sure government keeps growing and growing, no matter how many taxes they have to raise to pay for it.

    Just like my balanced budget, more than four months have passed since I proposed a plan to pay the half-a-billion dollars the state owes our hospitals. This plan would inject 700-million-dollars into Maine’s economy, and it would secure a liquor contract that would bring tens of millions of dollars back to Maine every year.

    But Democratic leadership won’t let legislators vote on this plan. They’d rather approve their own complicated scheme that could cost Mainers at least 100-million-dollars per biennium.

    After four months of delays and distractions, it seems that legislators in Augusta have ordered a shutdown on common sense. They are working overtime to avoid a simple reality: Maine does not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Our government is too big and too expensive, and it is getting bigger every year.

    When I put together my budget, I had to make the tough choices to make sure it was balanced. This was an unpleasant task. I’ve been a mayor. I know what challenges towns and cities are facing. But as mayor, I was able to reduce property taxes and decrease the size of local government without cutting services. It can be done.

    Raising taxes is not the only answer. It’s a choice. You can choose to make the difficult decisions and live within your means. Or you can choose to let government grow and raise taxes to pay for it.

    When legislators propose their various budget plans, they are thinking of just one thing: government. But when I created my balanced-budget proposal, I wasn’t thinking about lobbyists or special interests or the next election. I was thinking of just one thing: you, the Maine taxpayer.

    We will never lift the burden off the Maine taxpayer until we face reality and make the tough choices. But legislators would rather pass a budget that raises taxes than make the right choice for Mainers.

    I have no plans to shut down government. But I cannot speak for legislators or why the state employees’ union is threatening a government shutdown. We cannot operate government without the revenue to pay for it. Therefore, legislators must agree on a budget.

    I’ve done the hard work, and I’ve made the tough choices. I’ve done my job. Now it’s time for legislators to do theirs.

  • 20 May 2013 11:38 AM | Deleted user

    Media Advisory: Informational Session to Highlight How Tax Policy Affects the Future Workforce of Maine

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage invites media to a presentation outlining how tax policy affects the future workforce of Maine. The presentation will take place Monday at the Blaine House.

    Members of the Governor’s Cabinet and other state officials also will be in attendance.

    WHERE: Blaine House, Augusta

    WHEN: 2:00 p.m., Monday, May 20

  • 20 May 2013 11:37 AM | Deleted user
     

    Maine’s Unemployment Rate Lowest since 2008

    Governor remains focused on improving business climate, good policies that strengthen economy

    AUGUSTA – At its lowest level since 2008, Maine’s unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in April, down from 7.1 percent in March and 7.3 percent one year ago.

    “An unemployment rate of 6.9 percent is a positive sign that Maine’s economy is improving,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “However, we need to keep working to grow our economy and ensure that we do not slip backwards. This is why my administration is focused on helping to create an environment that enables the private sector to create and grow jobs for Maine people. Making our state more competitive will create jobs; strengthen our economy and get even more people back to work.”

    Today’s unemployment rate estimate is below 7 percent for the first time since December 2008.

  • 17 May 2013 10:53 AM | Deleted user

    Maine Unemployment Rate 6.9 Percent

    State Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette released April workforce estimates for Maine.

    Seasonally Adjusted Statewide Data

    Survey of Households - The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate estimate for Maine was 6.9 percent in April, down slightly from 7.1 percent in March and 7.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 48,600 were unemployed, down 3,100 over the year. The unemployment rate was below 7 percent for the first time since December 2008.

    Preliminary unemployment rate estimates tend to move in a direction for several months and then move in the opposite direction for several months. This pattern often reflects an estimating methodology rather than improvement or deterioration in conditions. Maine analysts note annual revisions in March 2014 are likely to remove those directional trends, as has been the case in recent years.

    Maine had a higher share of employed population than the nation for the 67th consecutive month in April (60.7 percent compared to 58.6 percent for the United States).

    The U.S. unemployment rate was estimated at 7.5 percent, little changed from 7.6 percent in March and down from 8.1 percent one year ago. The New England unemployment rate estimate was 6.8 percent; estimates for other states were 5.5 percent in New Hampshire, 4.0 percent in Vermont, 6.4 percent in Massachusetts, 8.8 percent in Rhode Island and 8.0 percent in Connecticut.

    Survey of Employer Payrolls –Preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there were 597,400 nonfarm payroll jobs in April, down 400 from the revised March estimate. The estimate of U.S. nonfarm payroll jobs was up 165,000.

    (NOTE: When using nonfarm payroll jobs estimates, it is important to know that they tend to be volatile from month to month. When estimates for the period from October 2012 to September 2013 are replaced with actual payroll data in March 2014, they are likely to show less volatility.)

    Not Seasonally Adjusted Substate Data

    The not seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in April, down from 7.4 percent one year ago. Not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 5.4 percent in Cumberland County to 11.5 percent in Piscataquis County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average in northern and rim counties.

    The unemployment rate was below the statewide average in all three metro areas: Portland-South Portland-Biddeford (5.7 percent), Bangor (6.6 percent) and Lewiston-Auburn (6.7 percent).

    This release is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/news/release.html. Detailed labor force and unemployment data for the state, counties, and 31 labor market areas; nonfarm jobs data for the state and the three metropolitan areas; and much more is available at www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/data.html.

    May data will be released Friday, June 21.

  • 16 May 2013 11:21 AM | Deleted user
    Governor’s Statement on Democrats Using Same Old Tactics

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage released the following statement Thursday morning after learning about Democratic leadership’s announcement to hold a news conference on tying welfare expansion to the hospital bill:

    “It is disappointing the Democratic leadership is scheduling press conferences instead of scheduling a vote today on my plan to pay Maine's hospitals. There is no connection between paying an overdue bill left on my desk when I took office and increasing welfare.

    “Maine people are tired of politics; they want results.

    "We need to pay the old debt so Maine can afford to sell the other bonds to create jobs and grow Maine's economy.”

  • 16 May 2013 9:45 AM | Deleted user

    Democrats Still Refuse to let Hospital Bill Move Forward

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today renewed his call on legislative leadership to allow a vote on his plan to pay nearly $500 million in welfare debt the state owes Maine’s hospitals.

    “Mainers have made it very clear that they want the hospitals paid without it being tied to welfare expansion. Their opinions are confirmed in results from yesterday’s poll. It is incomprehensible that Democrats continue to ignore the wishes of Mainers and refuse to move this bill forward.

    “I am astounded by this last-minute political maneuvering to make an end run around the Maine people. So once again I am calling on Democratic leadership to let legislators take a simple up-or-down vote on my plan.”

  • 16 May 2013 9:44 AM | Deleted user

    Governor LePage Sets Record Straight: “I do not support new taxes on tobacco products.”

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that he is not favor of raising taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products.

    “My office has received many phones calls from people who received inaccurate information from outdated stickers placed on cigarette or tobacco packaging,” said the Governor. “My position is clear. I do not support new taxes on tobacco products nor have I ever.”

    A coalition opposed to legislation being proposed by Democrats to raise taxes on cigarettes, cigars and tobacco distributed the outdated stickers, which instructed customers to call the Governor to object. Those stickers were printed years ago to target former Governor John Baldacci, a Democrat who favored increased taxes on tobacco products.

    In its rush to oppose the legislation, the coalition distributed the outdated stickers, resulting in angry calls to the Governor’s Office. The coalition has since distributed the correct stickers to retailers.

    The text of the new stickers proclaims: “Call Augusta and tell them: No New Tobacco Taxes! Senate: 287-1540, House 287-1400.”

    “If Mainers do not want to see these new taxes, I strongly urge them to call their legislators in the House and Senate,” said Governor LePage.

  • 15 May 2013 9:53 AM | Deleted user

    Governor Orders Flags to be Lowered in of Honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day

    Governor Paul R. LePage has directed that the United States flag and the State of Maine flag be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day.

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