Booze, Bonds and Budget Balancing

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
―Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th American essayist

All leaders need followers. Despite Emerson’s call to be nonconformist, political leaders cannot say one thing and do another, at least not if they want people to follow them. They need to demonstrate reasoned thought and action.

Governor LePage has always articulated his principles, clearly and forcefully over and over. Until now. Now the water is muddier than the Mississippi.

Governor LePage says that the size of government needs to be smaller and that government shouldn’t get in the way of private business.

“We are shrinking the size of government. Our private sector is growing—but not rapidly enough. We must do more.” ―Governor LePage, Radio Address, June 25, 2012

But this week he proposed that state government take back oversight of liquor sales, which had previously been outsourced to a private company.

Governor LePage has repeatedly asserted that Maine state government shouldn’t spend money it does not have.

“They recognize as do I that government must change and begin to live within its means.”  ―Office of Governor Paul LePage, Press Release, February 11, 2011

But now he wants to borrow money (plus interest) to pay ongoing state operating costs to be repaid based on future projected revenues from liquor sales in 2014 that it doesn’t yet have.

Governor LePage has consistently declared that Maine state government is not in a position to take on long-term debt from borrowing.

“While these bond proposals were authorized by legislators, it does not mean that we need to spend the money. “Even with the voters’ authorization to borrow this money, my administration will not spend it until we’ve lowered our debt significantly. That could be several years.” ―Bangor Daily News, May 25, 2012 quoting Governor LePage

Yet, this week, the Governor proposed that the state borrow money to construct a new correctional facility.

Governor LePage has contended that Maine state government should not borrow funds without voter approval.

“All this borrowing needs to have voter approval.” LePage said he is shocked at a vote by the legislature’s Appropriations Committee to kill a bill requiring an advisory referendum on bonds sold by the Maine Educational Loan Authority and said he opposes the measure they did approve requiring voter approval for some bonds issued by the Maine Government Facilities Authority. ―Bangor Daily News, April 29, 2012 quoting Governor LePage

Yet, this week, the governor proposed that the state borrow the money for the new correctional facility through Maine Governmental Facilities Authority without voter approval.

It seems that the governor’s words no longer match his deeds. And our state’s fiscal well-being hangs in the balance.