Governor LePage Uses Line Item Veto to Cut $60 Million From Budget Proposal
Governor Paul LePage made good on his promise to use his line-item veto privilege on the budget proposal presented to him this week by lawmakers. The Governor called the $6.7 billion dollar budget proposal a “business-as-usual budget patched together at the last minute” by lawmakers.
In a letter to the Legislature, LePage said the budget proposal was ‘based on the best interests of a handful of politicians, not what is best for all the people of Maine.’ He went on to talk about the drug epidemic and the fact that it’s ‘appalling’ that politicians would promote their own pet projects instead of helping to stem the influx of out-of-state drugs. In addition, he talked about politicians who are ‘so busy capitulating to special interests and kowtowing to social-justice activists’ that they ignore Maine’s elderly, disabled, and mentally ill.
Adrienne Bennett, Governor LePage’s Press Secretary, sent out a list from the Governor today that detailed some of the programs affected by the line-item veto. They include welfare programs like SNAP, TANF, and SSI for non-citizens, the Frances Perkins Homestead, A Maine DOT study of Passenger rail service from Portland to Lewiston, and the Wood Island Life Saving Station.
Also included were Meals on Wheels reimbursement, recommendations to end student hunger, community schools, school nutrition, and an effort to attract young people to Maine through an educational opportunity program, among several other programs. Of these last few items, the Governor said it’s important to note that, while they were vetoed, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not worthy of funding. Lepage maintains this funding ‘should not have been snuck into the budget late at night without a public discussion about the merits of each initiative.’