MECEP Wades into Biennial Budget Discussion

Yesterday (2/10/2011), Governor Paul LePage submitted his first biennial budget to the Legislature.  In advance of the Governor’s address to a joint session of the Legislature, MECEP released a background paper to provide a factual context for anticipated tax and budget items the Governor would touch upon in his remarks.  “Our purpose in presenting this background paper is to encourage policies based on the facts, not anecdotes or ideology,” MECEP Executive Director Christopher St. John said in a press release.  Following the Governor’s speech, St. John and other representatives of our Maine Can Do Better partners spoke with MPBN, WCSH-TV/WLBZ-TV and WABI-TV

MECEP also issued a press release after the Governor spoke expressing our concern over his portrayal of Maine’s pension and debt liability and his proposal to forego “bonds, borrowing or deferred payments of any kind” for the biennium ahead. “A two year moratorium on new bonds puts Maine’s economic recovery, global competitiveness and future prosperity at risk,” St. John said. 

Today (2/11/2011), the Governor’s staff released the details of budget.  MECEP posed a series of questions about the budget based on the Governor’s speech.  “With our economic recovery still in its fragile, early stages giving up opportunities to maintain essential transportation and other infrastructure, waiving large matching federal funds, and missing the job opportunities such bonding could provide is unwise,” MECEP said. “We hope the many legislators who have sponsored bond proposals can persuade two thirds of their colleagues at which point the Governor’s position would no longer matter.”

In an editorial today entitled “LePage’s Budget Bluster,” the Bangor Daily News also took exception to the Governor’s description of Maine “as ‘flirt[ing] with insolvency.’ Not exactly the kind of message that will inspire businesses to invest in Maine. Nor is it accurate.”