Skip to comments.Maine Gov. LePage threatens to close schools to fix DHHS hole
Posted on 01/21/2012 2:52:17 PM PST by tsowellfan
LEWISTON --Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday he will close schools on April 1 if the Legislature doesn't act quickly to plug a $221 million hole in the Department of Health and Human Services budget.
Gov. Paul LePage said the cuts are necessary because the state is out of money. He said of those who dont believe his numbers, either they are being dishonest to the Maine people or they cant count.
He urged residents to call their legislators "to tell them to get going" on his proposal, saying time is of the essence.
"A lot of Democrats still think we're fooling around and making political hay here," he said during a town hall meeting in Lewiston. "If I do nothing, on April 1 it's catastrophe for the state of Maine."
Administration officials have said the state's Medicaid fund will be out of money by April 1. LePage's comments about closing schools came as tensions continue to mount at the State House while lawmakers try to find a solution to the budget shortfall.
While the Appropriations Committee agreed on a few small items earlier this week, the major items have yet to be resolved.
"We can't trust his numbers," Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, said after the town hall. "It's hard to be able to trust the numbers when they just don't add up."
LePage's comments came in response to a question from an audience member who said he felt Democrats were stalling during deliberations over cuts that would result in 65,000 Mainers losing Medicaid coverage.
LePage said the cuts are necessary because the state is out of money.
He said of those who don't believe his numbers, "either they are being dishonest to the Maine people or they can't count."
LePage said Republicans are on board with his plan and he's been assured by GOP leaders that they will get support from Democrats to get the budget passed by the end of the month. That's important so the cuts can take effect in time to save the money by April.
LePage returned to his hometown Thursday night for a town hall meeting where about 150 people gathered in the culinary arts center at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center for his 12th Capitol for a Day town hall. The room was a mix of supporters and opponents with questions coming from the Maine People's Alliance, which has opposed the human services cuts, and those who approve of the governor's performance.
One man yelled at a hospital executive to cut his own salary as he was asking the governor about the wisdom of his welfare cuts.
Many in the crowd clapped when a LePage supporter asked whether he or the Legislature had any power to fire Maine State Housing Authority Director Dale McCormick. In recent months, Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has questioned the cost of housing backed by the authority. Poliquin said there's legislation pending that would require the director to report to the board, which is appointed by the governor.
"I'm very concerned about what I've seen there during the last year," Poliquin said.
While Poliquin, who in recent days has come under fire for conducting business activities while serving as treasurer, participated in the panel, he refused to answer questions from reporters as he entered the technical center.
Poliquin recently appeared before the Phippsburg Planning Board seeking to expand allowable uses for the Popham Beach Club, which he owns. Neighbors opposed the expanded year-round uses, but the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen approved Poliquin's request.
Earlier this week, Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, sent a letter to the attorney general's office asking whether Poliquin could continue to run businesses in the private sector while serving as treasurer. A provision in the Maine Constitution states the "Treasurer shall not, during the treasurer's continuance in office, engage in any business of trade or commerce, or as a broker, nor as an agent or factor for any merchant or trader."
The Maine Democratic Party also filed an ethics complaint against Poliquin for failing to disclose his business ties on a form he filed with the state last year shortly after assuming the job of treasurer.
Paul LePage is great. Love to see more people like him elected to office.
Paul has turned on the bright lights in the capital. The roaches who have been there for a very long time don’t like to be questioned.
Mainers, check my tag
Maine’s only hope for solvency is to slash welfare to the point where all the welfare recipients move to other states.
So?....When balancing budgets, the godless socialist schools are the best place to look for savings. Here are some ideas.
1) Give any child of any age who passes the GED ( or similar private exam) an official high school diploma from his local high school. As kids stream out of the government schools to start college, or trade schools, close down the excess schools and fire the teachers. ( Cost to state and taxpayers: NOTHING!)
2) Require **all** teachers in the socialist schools to take the GED. If they fail, fire them. Hire new teachers at half the salary.
3) Eliminate teacher unions. If the teacher strike, great! That will save the state a ton of money for this year.
4) Offer any family $5,000 as tax credit or rebate if they choose to immediately homeschool or privately school their child. As children leave, immediately consolidate, close schools, and fire teachers.
It's good to see these parasites being called out publicly.