03/01/2016 02:14 PM EST
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today he will not support a tax conformity bill that is tied to taking $23 million for additional education spending from the Budget Stabilization Fund.
“I will not support good policy tied to the back of bad policy,” said Governor LePage. “After speaking today with leadership from both sides of the aisle, it is clear that socialist legislators will continue to hold up tax conformity to get more spending. It’s totally unrelated to tax conformity.”
The Governor said he hopes to work with the 128th Legislature to support tax conformity next year and make it retroactive to this year.
AUGUSTA – In light of the blatant refusal from Kennebec County Democratic Party Committee members to provide more than one candidate for Sheriff, Governor Paul R. LePage has selected another candidate for the post. Governor LePage today announced Major Kenneth Mason to serve as the new Sheriff.
Last week, the Democratic Committee decided to withhold other names from the nomination process. The Committee submitted interim Sheriff Ryan Reardon’s name in October 2015.
Last month, Attorney General Janel Mills wrote a letter to Kennebec County Democratic Committee Chair Rita Moran requesting the committee’s intentions regarding the pending nomination process. Mills wrote, “While the intent of the statute is not entirely clear, the use of the words “choose” and “recommendations” seem to imply that if the Committee submits recommendations, the names of more than on qualified individual should be submitted.”
“Repeatedly, I have asked for at least two names as required by the law, but Democrats continue to play silly games and I have had enough,” said Governor Paul LePage. “I am selecting Major Kenneth Mason for this appointment. He has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and I have the utmost confidence he will continue to be an exemplary public servant.”
Born and raised in the Augusta area, Major Mason currently serves as the Chief Deputy for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office where he was appointed in 2005.
Prior to joining the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Major Mason served as a patrol officer with the Augusta Police Department beginning in 1987. While employed with Augusta Police Department, he was a field training officer instructing and training new hires on patrol functions. Major Mason became a certified D.A.R.E. instructor after completing a two week training course at Colby College in Waterville, and taught D.A.R.E. in all of the elementary schools in Augusta. In 2003, he became a certified Motor Cycle Police Officer and conducted patrol duties on two wheels.
Major Mason is also a United States Marine having served 5 years active duty after he graduated Hall-Dale High School.
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage once again called on Democrats today to stop hurting the livelihoods of teachers, low-income earners, students, small and large businesses by refusing to enact tax conformity unless it is tied to an additional windfall in education spending, which would be over and above the significant increase already in the current budget.
The Democrats want to raid the Budget Stabilization Fund for $23 million in additional education spending before they approve tax conformity, even though education spending has already increased by $80 million over the last budget.
“The Democrats are holding tax conformity for ransom by tying it to education funding, which is totally unrelated,” said Governor LePage. “They are raiding $23 million from the rainy day fund to deny teachers, low-income earners, students and small and large Maine businesses the tax refunds they deserve. There’s no reason to pay ransom for tax conformity. The Democrats are either for it or against it. If they think tax conformity is good for the Maine people-which it is-they should vote for it. If Democrats disagree with President Obama and think Maine taxpayers do not deserve the same tax refund the federal government is giving them, they should just vote against it.”
In school year 2016-17, state spending is $114 million higher than it was in the LePage administration’s first budget for the 2010-11 school year.
School spending from the state is now $150 million higher than the 2005-06 school year-an 18% increase. In the same period, student population has declined by over 25,000 students-a 13% decrease.
In this biennium, Governor LePage added $40 million over last year. The Legislature added another $40 million. School spending is up $80 million over the last biennium alone. Now the Democrats want to seize $23 million more, which would be a $100 million increase over last biennium.