Maine Legislature passes budget, Gov. LePage says he won't sign

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April 13, 2012

Maine Gov. Paul LePage

By Greg Janetka

AUGUSTA, Maine: After several long weeks of work, last night both chambers of the Maine State Legislature overwhelmingly passed a supplemental budget for 2012-2013. The final plan made some significant changes to the budget package Gov. Paul LePage first proposed last month. Owing to this, LePage said he would not sign the budget before the vote was even taken.

While final enactment votes are still necessary, the initial votes saw the Senate pass the plan 35-0, while the House voted 120-26.[1] LePage stopped short of threatening a veto, and the plan becomes law after ten days without his signature.

LePage's main objection was that welfare was not cut deeply enough. The new budget cuts state reimbursement to municipalities for general assistance from 90 percent down to 85 percent, while the governor sought a standard rate of 50 percent. General assistance provides help for people in need of housing, food, medicine and other necessities.[2]

LePage stated:

I cannot put my signature on a bill that largely ignores welfare reform. I have major concerns about the overspending in the General Assistance welfare program. Spending in this welfare program has grown from nearly $7 million in 2008 to a projected $14.3 million in 2013. I am looking at a way to sustain our welfare programs. This budget keeps Maine on the same path it’s been on for 40 years and I will not be held hostage and forced to sign a budget that is irresponsible.[1]

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