Our governor is once again issuing threats. This time Paul LePage’s ire is focused on the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.

“I’m going to insist that the budget be balanced. The Constitution of the state of Maine requires it and it hasn’t been balanced since I’ve been governor.”

Wait, what? The Republicans had control of the Legislature for the first two years of LePage’s term, and they didn’t balance the budget as required by the constitution? Why didn’t he insist the Republicans balance the state’s budget?

“I’m going to urge (the Appropriations Committee) to balance it, and if they don’t, I’m going to sue them in Supreme Court for violating the constitution of the state of Maine.”

The budget is a shared responsibility. Both the governor and the Legislature are responsible for balancing it, and I know legislators are urging him to do his part. As chief executive, he executes the budget and is ultimately responsible for the several jams the Department of Health and Human Services has gotten into, jams that have cost taxpayers many millions of dollars.

He is going out of his way to make it difficult for the Appropriations Committee to do its job by forbidding his commissioners to testify in person. Yet it is entirely the committee’s fault if the books don’t balance? Really?

According to Maine’s Attorney General, “If the governor determines that his budget is out of balance, he is authorized to submit a supplement budget in January.”

There we go, shared responsibility. So LePage should spare us the drama and learn to play well with others. He should do his job, and work with the Legislature to ensure the state has a balanced budget.

Alan TibbettsSidney

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