It was a great exit line. Not as pithy as The Terminator’s “I’ll be back,” to be sure, but good-natured and hinting at the possibility of impending mayhem just the same.

“I bid you all a good summer,” Gov. Paul LePage told the state Senate at the end of the legislative session last week, “Rest up, and we’re going to crunch you in January.”

If it had been the weigh-in for a boxing match, we’d be saying that LePage was engaging in a little trash talk to unnerve his opponent. And even though lawmaking is normally not a contact sport, we’ll be interested to see if the gloves come off when the Legislature reconvenes next year.

In farewell remarks to both the House and Senate, LePage thanked legislators for their hard work during the session and praised their accomplishments. But he also vowed to put their feet to the fire next year, particularly when it comes to his controversial proposal to ban the practice of requiring state workers who are not union members to pay a portion of union dues.

At least one Democrat called the governor’s comments “a temper tantrum.”

Let the games begin.

The Legislature’s decision to delay action until next year on the bill ending “fair share” payments by nonunion employees was not the only disappointment the Republican governor experienced working with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Among other sore points, LePage was less than thrilled with the two-year budget those majorities negotiated with Democrats — and that he signed with obvious misgivings.

The budget provided tax relief, but not as much as LePage asked for in his original budget outline. It included reforms in the state pension system, but not everything he wanted. It made changes in the welfare system, but didn’t go as far as the governor would have liked.

“They really fell short, they significantly fell short,” LePage said after signing the budget bill June 20 — foreshadowing, perhaps, last week’s “crunch you in January” teaser?

Shortcomings notwithstanding, the Legislature can take pride in its work. The governor’s prized anti-regulation bill, L.D. 1, was finalized in an impressive display of common-sense bipartisanship that is rarely seen in politically divided legislatures, in Maine or elsewhere. Even the budget, with all its faults, was a triumph of bipartisan cooperation that few would have predicted when the legislative session began.

It was a session that got off to rocky start, with LePage overreaching on some of his regulatory proposals, and the new Republican majorities seemingly unable to get a handle on the responsibilities of leadership.

At one point, lawmakers were spending more time debating whether whoopie pies should become the official state dessert than they spent working on urgent problems affecting the state’s future. (They settled on blueberry pie as the state dessert, it turned out, and crowned the whoopie pie as official state “treat.”)

Eventually, after LePage threatened a veto if his party’s lawmakers failed to deliver a budget that fulfilled all his requests — and after a number of controversial statements and actions by LePage seemed to distract everyone from the work at hand — the dust settled in Augusta and the Legislature started churning out bills.

Some of the bills were good and some were not so good. Some questionable proposals were shelved, as were a few bills that deserved better treatment. Maybe next year.

All in all, the people of Maine can be grateful that they’ve elected conscientious, hardworking legislators — and equally grateful that the Legislature is in session only half the year. We can all use a breather.

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