Two Maine companies employing about 400 people may be poised to close their doors because of high energy costs, Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday during a radio show appearance.

“I’m not going to give you the names because we are just starting the conversation but yesterday we got two calls,” LePage said. “We are talking roughly 400 people who may lose their jobs because of closures.”

LePage said the companies involved are concerned about a recent voter-approved increase to the minimum wage, high state income taxes but mostly overwhelming energy costs.

“One company told us their energy bill is going up $125,000 and they simply can’t sustain it,” LePage said in a conversation with WGAN radio talk show hosts Matt Gagnon and Ken Altshuler.

LePage has previously warned about job losses because of high energy costs without revealing specifics. In early 2016 LePage said 900 jobs would be lost in southern Maine because of high energy costs but never provided specifics and no closures materialized.

A message to LePage’s office seeking details on the 400 jobs Thursday was not immediately returned.

Thursday LePage also said he may pursue a ballot question asking voters to eliminate the state’s income tax saying the state Legislature was “relatively irrelevant.”

“You just go to referendum and they’ll say, ‘Well the people have spoken,’” LePage said. “And that’s how you win the game.”

LePage also hinted that his next and final two-year budget proposal, due to the Legislature on Friday, would not increase taxes and would also likely include some provisions that will attempt to create statewide contract for public school teachers in Maine. LePage has long said the state has too many school administrators and that not enough money goes into classroom education.

“Education is going to be completely reformed,” LePage said. “We are so out of line with the rest of the nation, it’s not even funny.”

LePage said his proposal would have the state cover the costs of teachers’ salaries. He said that would cover between 50 and 55 percent of the cost of education. “Then we will leave it to the communities to decide how many superintendents they want, how many teams they want, how many everything else they want I’ll take care of the classroom operations,” LePage said.

The governor also said he would resume a schedule of statewide town hall meetings that he started in 2014 but stopped in August of 2016 after a LePage again found himself in the national media spotlight for racially charged statements he made about drug traffickers coming to Maine from out-of-state. That was followed by an obscenity-laced voice mail LePage left for state Rep. Drew Gattine, a Westbrook Democrat, after Gattine criticized LePage for his comments.

LePage also predicted that the price of eggs were going to increase because of a ballot question that was passed in Massachusetts that bans the sale of eggs from caged hens saying the wholesale price would go from 69 cents a dozen to $1.87 a dozen.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

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