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Preview: Maine Governor Baldacci Press Releases

Maine Governor's Press Releases



Press releases issued by the Governor's office.



Copyright: Copyright 2016 All rights reserved.
 



Revenue Committee Forecasts Strong Conclusion to State's Fiscal Year

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:46:05 EST

For Immediate Release: Friday, December 02, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - The Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC) formally submitted their General Fund revenue forecast today to Governor Paul R. LePage and Maine Legislature. The forecast, which comes on the heels of a preliminary report issued earlier this week, is one of two required annually and was due no later than December 1, 2016. As part of their forecast, the RFC projects an increase in General Fund revenues of $34.2 million for the current fiscal year, an increase of 1 percent. The adjusted forecast is realized with revenues above the previous forecast from sales, individual income tax collections, and corporate income tax filings.

"Reducing the tax burden on Mainers continues to prove itself as a good policy decision. Despite cutting taxes for more than half a million Maine families, our structural gap has been reduced significantly, businesses investment and job creation continues and our revenues remain strong," said Governor LePage. "This proves that when you operate government in a business-like and effective manner, policymakers can focus on the issues that matter, such as welfare reform and economic development, rather than constantly scrambling to fill budget gaps."

"This is precisely what makes passage of Question 2 and Question 4 so frustrating," said the Governor. "Despite our success improving the economy and cutting taxes for Maine families, liberal special interest groups are fixated on returning Maine to its damaged past as a laboratory for socialist experiments that have failed in other states and countries."

The Committee also reduced the forecast for the 2018/19 biennium by $31.6 million, a decrease of 0.4 percent, anticipating a decline in automobile sales following more than five year of robust growth.

"The Great Recession resulted in Americans from all walks of life making dramatic changes to their individual finances," said Dr. Michael Allen, associate commissioner for tax policy. "As consumer confidence dipped, households began to limit their discretionary spending and large purchases. Mainers have been aggressive in replacing the automobiles they chose to retain during the recession. The Revenue Forecasting Committee expects that growth to slow in the coming years."

The RFC consists of the Associate Commissioner for Tax Policy, the State Budget Officer, the State Economist, an economist on the faculty of the University of Maine System selected by the chancellor, the Director of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review and another member of the Legislature's nonpartisan staff familiar with revenue estimating issues appointed by the Legislative Council.



Governor Urges Legislature to Consider Consequences of Referendum Questions

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 11:36:48 EST

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage wrote the following letter to Legislative Leadership and members of the 128th Legislature: (Link to letter is below.)To Legislative Leadership and members of the 128th Legislature: I urge you to lessen the impact of two referendum questions approved by the voters that will cause significant economic harm to restaurant workers, small businesses, successful people and our elderly. Question 2 will increase the income tax to 10.15% on successful Maine households and small businesses, supposedly to boost funding for education, and Question 4 will increase the minimum wage in such a way that it will devastate the restaurant industry, put local shops out of business and push 325,000 elderly Mainers deeper into poverty. Increasing the income tax to the second highest in the nation could actually do the opposite of what the question proposed. Question 2 sought to raise more money for education by slapping successful Maine households with an extra 3% income tax, but this could result in less money for education. Punishing Maine people and small businesses by increasing their income tax by 42% will drive them out of our state and prevent badly needed professionals, such as doctors, dentists, engineers and scientists, from coming here. No one wants to come to a state that will confiscate over 10 percent of their earnings, especially when other states, such as our next-door neighbor New Hampshire, take none. Successful people and small business owners already pay a significant amount of property tax, income tax, excise tax, sales tax, payroll taxes and other taxes and fees. If they go out of business or leave the state and take their income with them, this will create even less revenue for schools and municipalities. Maine needs more population, and we need more trained professionals. Taking a bigger share out of their hard-earned paychecks is not the way to do it. We may as well put up a big sign in Kittery that says: "Welcome to Maine: We'll Tax the Heck Out of You!" As drafted, the minimum wage law is fraught with unintended consequences that will create significant hardship for restaurant workers, small businesses and the elderly. As labor costs rise so rapidly, small businesses will have to absorb the extra expense by laying off workers and raising prices. As the price of everyday staples, such as milk, bread, eggs and coffee, and essential services, like snow plowing, roof repairs and furnace maintenance, increase to cover the higher labor costs, the elderly will be left out in the cold. Low-skilled and entry-level workers will get a $4-an-hour increase in pay, but those on Social Security will get an average increase of just $4 a month in their checks. This fixed income is not enough to cover the inflationary effect on prices this new law will have. As they must spend more of their limited income on higher prices, our elderly will be pushed even deeper into poverty. Restaurant owners say they will have to raise menu prices to cover the new labor costs. Even worse, with the elimination of the tip credit, servers will see their pay slashed by half or more. Servers who now make $25 to $30 an hour will see their income plummet to $12 an hour with little or no tips. Automatically increasing the minimum wage each year with no regard to how the state or national economy is doing could decimate small businesses in Maine. Your local corner store, favorite restaurant or longtime hairdresser cannot handle automatic wage increases when the economy is in a downturn. Although we all agree an increase in the minimum wage is acceptable, most Mainers did not understand the specifics of the referendum question they approved. Had Mainers known it would hurt waitresses, 325,000 elderly and their neighbors who own a small business, they most likely would have rejected it. Even if Mainers were aware of these impacts, we are all elected to do no harm. You have the authority to[...]



Governor Announces Acting Commissioner Hasson to Department of Education

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:36:54 EST

For Immediate Release: November 21, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today announced Dr. Robert Hasson is appointed the Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education, effectively November 24, 2016.

Supportive of the transition, Dr. William Beardsley will continue serving at the Department of Education in the capacity of Deputy Commissioner, "Dr. Hasson is an exceptional colleague and friend, and I cannot think of a better person to serve in the capacity of Acting Commissioner. It is the top priority for the administration that the needs of Maine's students are served well by the Maine Department of Education, and as such he and I will work closely together to ensure continuity and stable leadership at the Department," said Beardsley.

Dr. Hasson currently oversees certification, higher education, and educator effectiveness for the Maine DOE. He earned his doctorate at Boston College, is a Maine native, a former Maine superintendent, and is intimately familiar with the public education landscape in Maine and the issues related to school funding, student achievement, teaching and learning.

A Department employee may only hold the role of Acting Commissioner for six months, according to state statute. Dr. Hasson will replace Debra Plowman, who has been in the position since May. Transition paperwork is filed with the Maine Secretary of State's Office.



Statement on Transition of Energy Director Woodcock

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 09:39:01 EST

For Immediate Release: November 16, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today announced the transition of the Director of the Governor's Energy Office, Patrick Woodcock, from the position effective December 9, 2016. "Patrick Woodcock has done an outstanding job, not just for the State of Maine, but also for the New England region," said Governor LePage. "He has been at the forefront of discussions on how to lower energy for the Maine people and the people of New England. His expertise and his ability to communicate energy policy is unmatched. Although his departure is a sad day for our administration, we are proud of the job he has done for Maine, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

"It has been a privilege to work for a Governor who is passionate about improving New England's competitiveness and lowering energy costs for businesses in our region," said Patrick Woodcock. "I appreciate the opportunity to have worked with many talented energy professionals on behalf of the State of Maine to reduce heating costs and address our regional energy infrastructure. I strongly believe that sensible policies could transform Maine and this region into the cleanest and one of the lowest energy cost regions in the country." Director Woodcock has held the position since January 2013 and previously worked for Senator Olympia Snowe in her Washington, DC office. During this period, the Administration secured dedicated resources to assist Mainers to convert to modern heating equipment, led a regional effort to expand energy infrastructure, and expanded natural gas distribution service in Maine to key employers, including the Sappi Somerset Mill in Skowhegan.



Governor Issues Statement on Twin Rivers Announcement

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:20:59 EST

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 11, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today issued the following statement regarding the announcement from Twin Rivers:

"The paper industry is not dead. I commend Twin Rivers for its efforts to rebrand the pulp and paper industry. While the need for newsprint and other commodity papers continues to decline, we are beginning to see investments in other products, which our mills can support and remain competitive within the industry.

Now more than ever, it is important to make sure Maine is competitive in attracting new job creators and retaining existing companies by lowering taxes, reducing energy costs and providing a welcoming atmosphere for businesses and capital investment.

Maine is the only New England state in which industry is the largest energy-consuming sector. If the incoming Legislature is serious about strengthening the Maine economy, then it must reject above market energy contracts and seek low cost energy that does not harm the environment. In return, we will help job creators expand, hire more workers and bolster the Maine economy."

Twin Rivers announcement may be found here: http://www.twinriverspaper.com/news/acquisition-burrows-paper/ ###



Governor Paul R. LePage Kicks off Salvation Army's State Wide Kettle Campaign

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 09:57:26 EST

AUGUSTA - On Wednesday, the Salvation Army kicked off its Annual Christmas Kettle Effort when Governor Paul R. LePage brings greetings in a brief ceremony held in the Cabinet Room at the Statehouse in Augusta.

A Salvation Army Brass Ensemble was part of the festivities playing holiday carols. The charitable organization expects to have more than 130 red kettles throughout the state on street corners and shopping areas through December 24th. "For 125 years, Salvation Army red kettles around the world have been linked to the Christmas season and to compassion for the needy," said Governor LePage. "The heart of Maine beats especially strong this time of year. Mainers are generous people known to help our neighbors, and the kettle campaign is one way to help those who need it most."

However, they provide much more than atmosphere and nostalgia during the Christmas season. Last year, funds donated at these kettles enabled The Salvation Army to provide services and programs to 41,680 men, women and children statewide during the holidays and throughout the year. The Salvation Army provided food, clothing, utilities and emergency disaster aid. Also, children were provided the opportunity to attend The Salvation Army's Camp Sebago.

There are nine Salvation Army Corps (facilities) in Maine that offer services and programs for children, adults and seniors. • Bangor • Capital Region- Augusta and Waterville communities • Bath • Houlton • Lewiston • Old Orchard Beach • Portland • Rockland • Sanford

Also, The Salvation Army serves those in need in 91 other communities through its service units manned by volunteers.

If you are unable to make it to one of our kettles, please visit www.redkettlereason.org to make a donation!

For further information please contact Patricia James at (207) 774-6304 ext. 232.



Governor Issues Congratulatory Statement to Congressman Bruce Poliquin

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:14:14 EST

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 09, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today issued the following congratulatory statement to Congressman Bruce Poliquin:

"Congratulations to Congressman Bruce Poliquin on his decisive win, especially after being targeted by a barrage of negative attacks fueled by millions in out-of-state money. It was particularly disappointing to see his opponent spreading false and misleading information about her political record. No one works harder than Bruce, and we expect he will hit the ground running to begin work immediately with the Trump Administration for the benefit of Maine people."



Governor Issues Congratulatory Statement to President-Elect Donald J. Trump

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 14:24:00 EST

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 09, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today issued the following congratulatory statement to President-Elect Donald J. Trump:

"I congratulate Donald Trump on his historic, hard-fought and well-deserved win. I look forward to his ability to unite our country, put us back on the path to prosperity and restore our strength in the world. This election was a triumph for the American people, who rose up to defeat the forces of corruption, the political establishment and the elitist, out-of-touch media. We can now get to work to improve our economy, honor our Constitution, complete our Supreme Court and bring fiscal responsibility to our government."



Governor Issues Statement Urging College Students Who Vote to Establish Maine Residency

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:25:13 EST

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 07, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today issued a statement urging college students to establish residency in Maine if they choose to vote in state.

"Democrats for decades have encouraged college students from out of state to vote in Maine, even though there is no way to determine whether these college students also voted in their home states," Governor LePage said. "Casting ballots in two different states is voter fraud, which is why Maine law requires anyone voting here to establish residency here. We welcome college students establishing residency in our great state, as long as they follow all laws that regulate voting, motor vehicles and taxes. We cannot tolerate voter fraud in our state."

**The law on the Secretary of State's website is clear:**

**Eligibility to Register and Vote in Maine**

• To be eligible to register to vote in Maine, you must have established and maintain a voting residence in the municipality (i.e. city, town, plantation or unorganized township) where you seek to register.

**Consequences of Declaring Your Voting Residence (by Registering to Vote) in Maine**

• You should be aware that if you register to vote in Maine, you will be deemed to have declared residency in Maine, which may have consequences for compliance with other Maine laws, including the motor vehicle laws and tax laws.

• If you drive a car in Maine, you are required to obtain a Maine driver's license within thirty days of establishing residency here. Driving without a Maine license more than ninety days after you have established residency in the state is a crime under Maine law.

• If you are a resident of Maine and own a vehicle here, state law also requires you to register that vehicle in Maine within thirty days of establishing residency. By declaring Maine as your voting residence, you may be treated as a resident of Maine for income tax purposes and be subject to Maine income tax.

• . . . as a student, you must meet the same residency requirements as all other potential voters.

See the complete requirements of the law on the Secretary of State's website: http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/voter-info/resident.html

"After the election, we will do everything we can that is allowed under state and federal law to verify college students who voted here are following Maine law, which is clearly displayed on the Secretary of State's website," said Governor LePage.

###



Maine Withdraws from Federal Refugee Program

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:16:54 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 17, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

In letter to Pres. Obama, Governor writes he has ‘lost confidence' in feds' management of program

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage on Friday sent a letter to President Barack Obama informing him that Maine will no longer be participating in the federal refugee resettlement program. The Governor also notified the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, as required by federal law.

"I have lost confidence in the federal government's ability to safely and responsibly run the refugee program and no longer want the State of Maine associated with that shortcoming," wrote Gov. LePage in his letter. "The federal government has proven to be an unwilling partner with states in ensuring that refugee resettlement does not unduly put American lives at risk," he continued.

Maine will be joining Texas, Kansas, and New Jersey in severing ties with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. States have voiced their concerns that the federal government cannot adequately screen refugees, many of whom are now coming to the United States from nations where terrorism is rampant. Gov. LePage was one of 31 governors to sign a letter last November requesting unsuccessfully that the federal government cease resettlement of refugees from Syria until adequate vetting procedures can be established.

In a recent conference call with state officials, federal officials from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Health & Human Services announced their goal of increasing the number of refugees they bring into the United States in the upcoming federal fiscal year. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has told Congress that the federal government cannot conduct thorough background checks on all refugees coming into the country.

Gov. LePage in his letter to Pres. Obama cited the case of Adnan Fazeli, the refugee who settled in Freeport, Maine and left to die fighting for ISIS as an example of the kind of danger invited by the current reckless refugee program.

"I sincerely hope that the federal government will re-evaluate its current refugee policy-both the quantity and nation of origin of refugees it resettles and the vetting process they are subjected to-in order to best protect the safety and interests of the American people," wrote Gov. LePage, who added that he has directed Maine's Department of Health and Human Services to work with their federal counterparts to implement Maine's transition out of the program.



Portland Press Herald Refuses to Print Opinion Piece by Governor LePage

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 11:45:35 EDT

When Press Secretary Adrienne Bennett requested the opinion piece be considered for publication, Portland Press Herald Editor Greg Kesich said, "I'll pass."**Op-Ed: Raising the minimum will hurt 325,000 Mainers**Make no mistake: if you vote on Question 4 to raise the minimum wage, you will be hurting your grandparents and your elderly neighbors. The socialists at Maine People's Alliance are pushing hard to arbitrarily increase the minimum wage, claiming it will improve the lives of workers. They don't tell you it will harm our most vulnerable residents: the elderly and those on fixed incomes. Raising the minimum wage so quickly will put immediate upward pressure on labor costs for businesses. To cover these dramatic new labor costs, your favorite restaurant, coffee shop and corner store will be forced to lay off employees or raise prices-or both. Prices on everything, ranging from milk, bread and eggs to fixing your toilet, repairing your roof and snowplowing your driveway, will increase. Despite the rising prices for all goods and services, your grandparents and your elderly neighbors will not get an increase in their fixed incomes. The average cost-of-living increase in Social Security will be four dollars a month. But the Maine People's Alliance wants to increase the minimum wage by four dollars an hour. Mike Tipping and Ben Chin, the highly paid leaders of the Maine People's Alliance, are trying to enact income redistribution through the ballot box. They do not care what kind of damage it does to the local economy, and they certainly do not care that steep price increases will drive the 325,000 Mainers who live on Social Security deeper into poverty. Tipping and Chin operate in the liberal urban enclaves of our state. They don't know what it's like to struggle in Machias or East Millinocket or Fort Kent. They don't know what it's like to live on a four-dollar-a-month increase. Furthermore, a dramatic hike in the minimum wage is not needed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 14,500 Mainers earned minimum wage in 2015. Of those, about half worked in food service. With the Maine labor market tightening, wages have been rising and the number of low-wage workers has been declining. In fact, during the past four years the overall number of people making the minimum wage has fallen by almost 6,000. When 2016 figures are available, we expect to see the number of low-wage earners continue to decline. In addition, many of those working in food service get tips. But Tipping and Chin's plan will devastate the restaurant industry. They will get rid of the tip credit and essentially eliminate tipping. Not only will menu prices increase dramatically to cover the new labor costs, but restaurant workers who now make $20 to $30 an hour will get $12 an hour with no tips. With an employee shortage across the state, most places are already paying more than the minimum wage to attract workers. The minimum wage is really a starter wage for entry-level or unskilled workers. It is also used to pay the mentally or physically disabled, who cannot work at 100% capacity and otherwise would not get a job. Raising the minimum wage to $12 will eliminate jobs for teens and other low-skilled workers. No business owner wants to pay $12 an hour for an unskilled teen in an entry-level job or a mentally disabled Mainer who cannot work at full capacity. On the other hand, Maine people are generous and will help where they can. Finally, the proposal by the Maine People's Alliance mandates that the minimum wage go up every year. During a downturn in the economy, businesses will still be forced to pay higher and higher wages. So don't be fooled by Tipping and Chin's agenda. This is not about economics; it is about a socialist ideology-the kind tha[...]



Governor Raises Concern Over Land for Maine's Future Project Not Moving Forward

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:08:10 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 17, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 Released LMF funding still on hold

AUGUSTA - Over the last year, nearly a dozen projects under the Land for Maine's Future ("LMF") program have been closed and funded. One major project in Cumberland County, however, remains up in the air despite this year's June bond sale that included funding for LMF. On Monday, Governor LePage raised concerns over why $225,000 in state funding has yet to be utilized.

"My critics and the Maine media have slammed me repeatedly for supposedly not releasing funding," said Governor LePage. "The Portland Press Herald and others have gone after Representative Michael Timmons personally, blaming him for delaying the project. Now the funds are available and those responsible for submitting paperwork are purposely slow rolling the process for political purposes. I demand to know why town officials and the land trusts involved with this project are dragging their feet."

The Knights Pond and Blueberry Hill area project focuses on the purchase and preservation of a 215-acre undeveloped parcel in Cumberland and North Yarmouth. However, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, which administers the LMF program, has not received the necessary documents from the towns and land trusts involved with the project. The State has had a check ready to complete this project since August 19. During the past 12 months, the Department has worked to provide funding to nearly a dozen LMF projects and is on track to close on additional projects by the end of 2016. The Cumberland Town Council approved in February to use $300,000 in taxpayer dollars toward the Knights Pond project. North Yarmouth approved spending up to $100,000. In total, the land acquisition cost is $1.3 million. Also working with the two towns is the Trust for Public Land, the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust and the Royal River Conservation Trust.

President Penny Asherman of the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust criticized the Governor a month prior to the bonds' release saying, "The Knight's Pond & Blueberry Hill project is still awaiting $225,000 it was promised by the LMF Board in July 2014 and we fully expect the governor to pay off this debt to our communities."

During the past year, for the LMF program has closed and funded at least eleven projects related to Land for Maine's Future. Those projects include: • Eagle Bluff • Central Maine Sportsman's Access • Kennebec River Estuary • Crooked River • Miller's Wharf • Cold Stream Forest • Pleasant Bay • Kimball Pond • Winterwood Farm • Merritt Cove • Knights Pond / Blueberry Hill




Governor Calls Attention to FBI Affidavit Describing Significant Welfare Fraud in Portland

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 16:10:46 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 17, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage on Monday called attention to a publicly available affidavit filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April 2016 to justify a search warrant of Ahram Market ("Ahram Halal Groceries") in Portland. The affidavit describes massive welfare fraud-amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars-revealed in the FBI's investigation.

The investigation was generated by information from the Division of Audit at Maine's Department of Health and Human Services. The affidavit describes how the FBI used a confidential informant to obtain information about significant welfare and tax fraud conspiracies at Ahram Market, including trading cash for welfare benefits, filing false tax returns and fraudulent disability claims.

While Maine media ignored the easily attainable 52-page public affidavit, which details an investigation that began in July 2015 and lasted through April 2016, news of it broke on Lifezette.com. "By purposely choosing not to cover this story, Maine media is complicit in hiding welfare fraud," said Governor Paul R. LePage.

"The Maine people have been demanding welfare reform for many years, and our Administration has made significant progress in fixing the state's previously unchecked welfare system. It's no accident our Administration is finding 10 times as much welfare fraud as that of my predecessor. But the liberal, out-of-touch Maine media still vehemently opposes common-sense welfare reforms. It took an out-of-state news outlet to finally report this major story."

Members of the news media may obtain a copy of the affidavit from U.S. District Court in Portland or by requesting a copy from the Governor's Office.

"For too long, liberals from Portland to Washington have created ‘safe spaces' for welfare fraud and abuse by making benefits too easily available while neglecting to crack down on illegal activity," added Governor LePage. "I hope the Obama Administration is not turning a blind eye to such brazen tax and welfare fraud simply to protect their politically correct, open-borders agenda. On behalf of Maine taxpayers who work hard to provide these benefits to truly needy people, I will continue to support our state's efforts to end abuse of our welfare system and direct our agencies to assist the FBI or DOJ in any way they can to identify and root out fraud."




LePage Administration Increases Efforts to Remove Political Signs Illegally Placed Within a Public Right-Of-Way

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 14:43:01 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 14, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Due to the significant amount of illegally placed signs on public right-of-ways around the State of Maine, Governor Paul R. LePage has asked the Maine Department of Transportation to increase enforcement and removal of political signs that do not meet the law.

Many constituents have contacted the Administration in the last few weeks expressing their concerns that many campaigns are not following the new sign law.

"After receiving many complaints from the public about illegally placed signs, I have asked the Maine Department of Transportation to increase their enforcement of this new law," said Governor LePage. "Our Administration has and will continue to enforce this law fairly for all political campaigns."

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a new law with specific requirements for displaying political signs along Maine's roads. The new law allows political signs to be placed along a public right-of-way for up to six weeks during a calendar year and signs bearing the same or substantially the same message may be placed no closer than 30 feet from one another.

Each sign may not exceed 4 feet by 8 feet in size. Further, the new law requires political sign owners to place their name and contact information on each sign, as well as the six-week time frame for which the sign owner intends to have the sign up. These changes were made to conform with a recent Supreme Court ruling and to mitigate public concerns about the overall density of signs along the roadway. To be clear, this law does not prohibit political signs on private property.

The Maine Department of Transportation will continue to notify a campaign if a sign does not follow the law and give them a short period of time to come into compliance. If the campaign does not follow this directive, the Department will remove the sign and notify the campaign that it has been removed and is available for pick up at a Department facility.

A link to the new law is below.

http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/bills_127th/chapters/PUBLIC403.asp



Governor LePage Receives Highest Marks Among Governors on Fiscal Report Card

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 11:49:58 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - The Cato Institute has released its 2016 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors, which awarded five governors an "A" based on their taxing and spending records. Governor Paul R. LePage received the highest overall grade among all governors. The full report is available here. "It's all about implementing good economic policies that will help the Maine people; this is what I care about," said Governor LePage. Five governors, including Governor LePage, received the top honor in this year's 13th biennial fiscal report card. The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization, whose scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. Earning an "A" are Republican Governors Paul R. LePage of Maine, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Rick Scott of Florida, Doug Ducey of Arizona and Mike Pence of Indiana. "Paul LePage of Maine has been a staunch fiscal conservative. He has held down spending growth, and state government employment has fallen 9 percent since he took office," cited the report. "LePage has been a persistent tax cutter. In 2011 he approved large income tax cuts, which reduced the top individual rate and simplified tax brackets. In 2015 he vetoed a tax-cut plan passed by the legislature partly because the cut was not large enough. The legislature overrode him, and Maine enjoyed another income tax reduction. In 2016 LePage pushed for more reforms, including estate tax repeal and further income tax rate cuts." The Fiscal Policy Report Card examined seven tax and spending variables, including two spending variables, one revenue variable and four tax-rate variables. Fiscal policy trends were also examined and notes reductions to individual and corporate income tax rates. There have been substantial rate cuts in Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma in recent years. Ten governors were awarded an "F": Robert Bentley of Alabama, Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Jerry Brown of California, David Ige of Hawaii, Dan Malloy of Connecticut, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Kate Brown of Oregon, Jay Inslee of Washington and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. Fiscal Policy Notes on Governor Paul R. LePage Maine Paul LePage, Republican Legislature: Divided Grade: A Took Office: January 2011 Governor Paul LePage has been a staunch fiscal conservative. He has held down general fund spending in recent years, and he has cut state government employment 9 percent since he took office.69 LePage has signed into law cost-cutting reforms to welfare and health programs, and he has decried the negative effects of big government: "Big, expensive welfare programs riddled with fraud and abuse threaten our future. Too many Mainers are dependent on government. Government dependency has not-and never will-create prosperity." LePage has been a persistent tax cutter. In 2011 he approved large income tax cuts, which reduced the top individual rate, simplified tax brackets, and reduced taxes on low-income households. He also increased the estate tax exemption, cut business taxes, and halted automatic annual increases in the gas tax. In 2013 LePage vetoed the legislature's budget because it contained tax increases, including an increase in the sales tax rate from 5.0 to 5.5 percent. However, his veto was overridden by the legislature. In 2015 the Maine budget process broke down. LePage proposed a plan to reduce the top individual income tax rate from 7.95 to 5.75 percent, reduce the top corporate [...]