PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Governor Paul LePage had some of his toughest words yet for the Democrats leading the Maine Legislature Thursday .
VIDEO: Governor launches new attack on Democratic leaders; Response from Maine State Senate President Justin Alfond
The Governor said the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate are inexperienced and irresponsible, and said they are trying to harm the state. Governor LePage even brought up former Speaker of the House John Martin, the Democrat Republicans always loved to hate, saying he would rather be dealing with Martin than the current leaders..
The Governor made the comments to NEWS CENTER, and then repeated them to an audience of manufacturing business leaders at the Pineland Center in New Gloucester. His current fight with Democrats is about issuing roughly $80 million in new bonds for construction projects. Those bonds were already approved by voters several years ago. The Governor says he won't allow the bonds to be sold until the Legislature puts 21 million dollars back into the state's rainy day fund.
Democrats took the money out of the fund to prevent cuts to revenue sharing. The Legislature's budget committee is now looking at the Governor's plan along with the rest of the supplemental budget. But he said he wants the 21 million for the rainy day fund now, and is holding the bonds hostage until his bill is passed. Democrats say he is the problem, Senate President Alfond saying the Governor is acting irresponsibly. Alfond said Democrats have been assured by the bond agencies there is no problem.
Both the Governor and the Senate President claim they have compromised on the issue, and are not likely to bend any more. The supplemental budget needs to fill a hole estimated at more than $90 million. There's a lot of speculation in the Statehouse that Democrats will push for an increase in the tobacco tax tofill that budget gap. The Governor says he will veto any tax increase, even if that means vetoing money for the rainy day fund, and delaying the bonds.