AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate today sustained all three of Gov. Paul LePage’s vetoes despite arguments by Democrats to override the chief executive.

Last week, LePage vetoed bills that gave a small tax break to loggers, a sales tax exemption to nonprofit performing arts centers, and a bill that required that energy efficiency measures be considered for new public buildings.

Democrats spoke on the Senate floor in defense of their bills. The Senate is controlled by Republicans, 19-15, with one seat vacant.

Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, said he felt it was important to give a tax break to performing arts centers as a way to help them sustain jobs. LePage vetoed the bill because he said tax breaks should be reserved for necessities, such as food, shelter and medicine.

Gerzofsky won a few Republican votes, but the 19-15 vote in support of an overrride fell short of the two-thirds necessary.

Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, said his bill to give up to a $1,000 tax credit for fuel was intended to provide “a small amount of help” to loggers. He asked those who would not vote for an override to ask the governor to come to Aroostook County to meet with loggers to hear their concerns.

LePage vetoed the bill because he intends to offer his own tax relief package later his year that would help loggers, according to his veto letter. That override got only 14 votes in favor.

And, Sen. Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham, told his colleagues that his bill was designed to help municipalities and schools save money when designing new buildings. LePage vetoed the bill because he felt it was an additional mandate on local government.

That override attempt got 15 votes.

Over the last year, LePage has issued 15 vetoes, all of which have been sustained by the Legislature.

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