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Governor LePage's Speeches

Recent speeches by Maine's Governor.

Copyright: Copyright 2018 All rights reserved.

Governor LePage's 2018 State of the State Address

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 11:49:21 EST

(As prepared for delivery on February 13, 2018. Official remarks differ from prepared text. To view a video of Governor LePage's 2018 State of the State speech, visit the link below and scroll down on the right-hand calendar to "6:50:31 PM - STATE OF THE STATE" ) Chief Justice Saufley, members of the 128th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens: I want to briefly remember Paul Mitchell of Waterville, brother of Senator Mitchell, who passed away this weekend. He was a dedicated public servant and a good friend. As I begin the last State of the State Address of my time as Governor of this great state, let me first thank my wife Ann-please stand- for her service to the people of Maine these past seven years. I would not be here tonight without you. Ann, you have made Maine proud as our First Lady-and our family is proud of you. In case I forget, happy Valentine's Day tomorrow. I also thank our children. I appreciate my family's willingness to share my time with the duties of being Governor. To Staff Sergeant Ronald Fowler of the Air Force's 243rd Engineer Installation Squadron, the military herald this evening, thank you for your selfless service to our state and nation. We congratulate you on being our state's 2018 Outstanding Airman of the Year. Ann and I are grateful to all our military and their families for their service. I would also like to recognize two members of my staff, Angela Kooistra our sergeant of security and Holly Lusk my chief of staff. I'm here tonight to speak to you about the future of our state. We have made progress-but there is much more we could have done and more that we can do to move our state forward. In his last State of the Union, President Ronald Reagan said: "If anyone expects just a proud recitation of the accomplishments of my administration, I say let's leave that to history; we're not finished yet. So, my message to you tonight is put on your work shoes; we're still on the job." Now is not the time to slow down. I will continue working until the last minute of my last day. I came into office saying I will put people before politics, and I have tried to do that. Politics as usual puts our most vulnerable Mainers at risk. As most of you know, I'm no fan of the status quo. Today, special interests continue to highjack our ballot box and politicians continue to kowtow to wealthy lobbyists and welfare activists. The Legislature has forgotten about the Mainers who need our help the most. Our elderly, our intellectually and physically disabled and even our youth are being left out of the process. I vow to spend my final year as Governor fighting for those Mainers who don't have a voice in Augusta. For years I have listened to liberals talk about compassion. Subsidizing solar panels for wealthy homeowners at the expense of our needy is not compassionate. Raising taxes on hard-working families to expand welfare entitlements for able-bodied people is not compassionate. Catering to the activists in the halls of the State House instead of the struggling family businesses on Main Street is not compassionate. I know what it's like to need help. That's why I meet one-on-one with constituents on Saturday mornings. That's why I get involved in cases that affect our elderly and our most vulnerable. They need our help. It's our job to help them. We are, after all, public servants. ###REDUCING PROPERTY TAXES For the past seven years as Governor, my priority has been to make all Mainers prosper. Too many Maine families are facing skyrocketing property taxes that strain household budgets. Our elderly on fixed incomes are particularly vulnerable to these increases. You simply cannot tax your way to prosperity. As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." School budgets are often blamed for property-tax increases. The real culprit is the tremendous amount of land and property value we've allowed to be taken off the tax rolls, leaving homeowners to pick up the tab. These landowners must co[...]

State of the State 2017

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 11:59:26 EST

Members of the 128th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens: Let me begin by first recognizing a few individuals. To my lovely wife Ann and my children-please stand-I would not be here tonight without you. Ann, you have made Maine proud as our First Lady. Allison Salsbury of Bar Harbor is here tonight with her daughter, Kathy. She is an elderly widow, and she knows about the hardships Mainers are facing. To Technical Sergeant Christopher Ludden, the military herald this evening, thank you for your courageous service to our state and nation. Ann and I are so grateful to all of our military and their families for their service. I'm here tonight to speak to the Maine people about the future of our state. Our economy and our way of life are under attack. Older Mainers who have worked their entire lives are losing their homes because of tax or utility bills-and many local governments condone it. Sadly, Maine Municipal Association defends it. The taxes Mainers have paid all their lives fund the organization that throws them on the street. It has to stop. We must protect our elderly! We must also protect younger Mainers. Our families are losing good-paying jobs. It's all because of a faulty ideology. Maine was once renowned for its rugged individualism. Liberals are now trying to transform our state into a socialist utopia. Utopia is an ideology-no amount of taxpayers' money can make it a reality. We have made great strides in shrinking state government, but liberals continue to provide all things to all people free. "Free" is very expensive to someone. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during his Annual Message to Congress in 1935: "The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. "To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America." It was true in 1935, and it is true in 2017. Liberals have not learned from history. They have just changed tactics. They are doing an end run around the Legislature by highjacking the citizens' referendum process. They say they are helping low-income Mainers by raising the minimum wage and taxing the so-called "rich." But they are harming our economy. We are losing doctors, dentists, psychiatrists and other professionals we so badly need. They are harming small family businesses. They are harming low-income workers. Even worse, they are harming our elderly. Successful people are not the problem; they are the solution. They create jobs. They pay the most in sales, excise, income and property taxes. They already pay two-thirds of the tax burden in Maine. Taxing them out of Maine does not help our economy-it harms it. It is harmful to lay off employees. It is harmful to put your local restaurant out of business. It is harmful to drive our elderly deeper into poverty. Liberals from Southern Maine never go to Calais or Machias or Rumford or Fort Kent. But I do. I see the elderly living in poverty. I see how Maine families are struggling. Our industries are laying off hard-working Mainers or leaving the state. Madison Paper, Verso in Bucksport, Verso in Jay, Lincoln Pulp and Paper, Millinocket and East Millinocket and Old Town-just to name a few. We need to help our families, not harm them. My budget has a theme: Do No Harm. I am asking you to join me-Do No Harm! Our citizens voted to raise the minimum wage. They also voted to "tax the rich." I get it. But they did not read the legislation behind the ballot questions. They didn't know it would destroy our fragile economy. We reduced the unfunded pension liability. We improved our credit rating. We paid the hospitals! We built the Budget Stabilization Fund from nearly zero to $123 million. It could have been $300 million, if we had the will to be just a bit more fisc[...]

2015 State of the State Address

Tue, 03 Feb 2015 19:48:44 EST

The following is text as prepared of Governor Paul R. LePage's 2015 State of the State Address Chief Justice Saufley, President Thibodeau, Speaker Eves, members of the 127th Legislature, distinguished guests, and fellow Mainers.Tonight, I am here to update you, the people of Maine, about the condition of our great state.First, I must recognize my wife, Ann. I would not be here tonight without you. You have made Maine proud as our First Lady, especially through your support of our armed services and their families.To my family and friends, I appreciate all you have done-and all you continue to do-to support me.Staff Sergeant Sarah Cayia, the military herald this evening, thank you for your courageous service to our state and nation.I ask that we all take a moment to remember, recognize and thank our men and women in uniform.I would like to make a very important announcement. I am the only Republican that will not be running for President - yet.I became Governor for one simple reason. I want prosperity-not poverty-for all Maine people.Doing "business as usual" hurts our ability to be competitive. It favors poverty and prevents prosperity. Mainers, it's time to innovate. We need an efficient, effective and affordable government. But change is hard. It's much easier to protect the status quo.Studies sit on shelves, collecting dust. Politicians talk about tax reform every year. Nothing meaningful gets done.We must make hard decisions today so we can have prosperity tomorrow for our future generations.I made hard decisions all my life-the necessary decisions to help companies grow and expand.I was a mayor. I understand the needs versus the wants for municipalities.As Governor, I've listened to Mainers. They want to succeed and prosper.My budget takes bold action. It is the first step-a big leap forward. Friends, I can't do it alone. I need your help. We must do it together.The Maine people want results, not rhetoric. They want action!TAX REFORMWashington, D.C. is broken. Our future depends now more than ever on the states. They are the 50 laboratories of democracy.Our country has the highest income taxes in the world. This makes our nation uncompetitive.Maine is currently not competitive nationally or globally. Our tax system is antiquated. We must modernize it.My fellow Mainers, you work hard for your paycheck. The government takes your earnings, and you have no control over how it is spent.You earned it. You should keep it!An income tax cut puts money back in your pocket. It is a pay raise for all working Mainers.With consumption taxes, you make the choice. You decide where you spend your money. And let me be clear: this plan does not tax funerals. It does not tax car repairs. It does not tax groceries or other necessities.My plan makes sure more taxes are paid by tourists - not by Mainers. Approximately 650,000 Maine tax returns pay the income tax.On the other hand, 29 million tourists a year pay sales taxes on almost every purchase they make.Our refundable sales tax credit helps lower- and middle-income Mainers get their money back.This plan is different from past plans. It is not a tax shift. It is a tax cut for all Mainers.My vision is a Maine with no income tax. But I'm no magician. It takes time.When I took office, Maine's top income tax rate was 8.5 percent-one of the highest in the nation. We reduced the rate to 7.95 percent-a baby step. This plan cuts it to 5.75 percent-a 40 percent decrease in the income tax since I took office. That's one big step.A young married couple, both teachers with one child, claiming a standard deduction, would get a $1,500 pay raise.That's a mortgage payment. That's few tanks of heating oil. It's several car payments or back-to-school clothes for the kids. It's real money. It makes a real difference.Other tax reform plans were "revenue neutral." They were created by politicians to serve special interests. My one special interest is the Maine people.My plan cuts spending. It gives money back to you: the Maine people.This plan reduces [...]

2015 Inaugural Address of Governor Paul R. LePage

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 13:25:04 EST

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the 127th Legislature and honored guests. Welcome.First, I must thank Ann and my children for their love and support during the last four years and particularly through the recent campaign, which was very negative. I'm so proud of their strength and resilience through it all.I'm especially proud of Ann, who has dedicated so much to the veterans of our state over the past four years. However, I hope she doesn't jump out of any more planes! Je dois aussi remercier mon collègue Franco Américans pour leur soutien. Je suis un enfant des rues du petit Canada, je n'ai jamais imaginé qu'un jour, je deviendrais votre gouverneur. Mais à vous prendre en charge, nous l'avons fait. J'ai jamais oublier où je venais, et je n'oublierai jamais votre soutien indéfectible. Merci beaucoup mais aimee.Well, folks, we're back. The national experts and the media said we wouldn't be here today. They forgot to ask those who matter most: the Maine people.Pundits and pollsters don't determine why a person should be Governor. The people do.For four years, we have been taking our message directly to the people of Maine. We let our actions speak for themselves.That's what the people want: action. They are so tired of politicians preaching to the people and not listening to the people. They promise one thing, then do another.That's not who we are.We said we were going to pay the hospitals, and we did. We paid hospitals $750 million in welfare debt.We said we were going to lower taxes, and we did. We passed the largest tax cut in Maine's history.We said we were going to help private businesses create jobs, and we did. State government is no longer an adversary against business, but a partner with the private sector.We made Maine "Open for Business."Private-sector companies have created more than 20,000 jobs. And there are almost 7,000 jobs at the CareerCenter that still need to be filled.If you want a job, you can get it. But our work is far from complete!WELFARE REFORM Most importantly, we said we were going to reform welfare, and we are. So far, we have cut the welfare rolls in half. We stopped the growth of Medicaid.We went after fraud and abuse. We put photos on EBT cards. We put more money toward nursing homes.We are using the savings from our welfare reforms to take care of our elderly, disabled and mentally ill.We are transitioning people off welfare and into productive jobs. The Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Labor and Veterans Services have teamed up to create an innovative program called "Welfare to Work."More than 1,200 Mainers who were on welfare are now working full-time.No more welfare handouts.We will give them skills, training and jobs. We want them to know prosperity, not poverty.We are making progress in reforming our welfare system. But we are just getting started.MAKING MAINE COMPETTIVE The people of Maine told us they want us to keep reforming government. They want better jobs.They want welfare reform. They want lower energy costs. They want lower taxes.They want good roads and bridges, and they want a smaller, more affordable government.Mainers work hard. They have common sense. They know what it means to pay the bills. They want their piece of the American Dream. We won't rest until every man, woman and child in Maine gets their chance to achieve prosperity, not poverty.Mainers deserve career jobs with higher pay and good benefits. We must attract new business to Maine and help our existing companies to grow and expand.We don't have to reinvent the wheel. Other states are growing and expanding. We can do what they are doing. We can make Maine competitive.TAX REFORM States with the fastest growth have the lowest tax burdens and the lowest energy costs. That's not a coincidence.We need good-paying jobs that encourage young people and families to stay in Maine. To create these jobs, Maine must be competitive with other states.Companies want to come to low-tax states, and so do youn[...]

2014 State of the State Address

Wed, 05 Feb 2014 09:47:33 EST

Chief Justice Saufley, members of the 126th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens:Tonight, I am here to update you, the people of Maine, about the condition of our great state.First, I must recognize a few individuals. To my lovely wife Ann and children-please stand-I would not be here tonight without you. Ann, you have made Maine proud as our First Lady.Staff Sergeant Douglas Connolly, the military herald this evening, thank you for your courageous service to our state and nation.As we thank our men and women in uniform, we are reminded of those who are not with us. Bill Knight greeted thousands of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at Bangor International Airport. A World War II veteran, Bill was part of the Greatest Generation. He died on Christmas Day at age 91. He made greeting the troops his life's most important duty.Another veteran who is not here tonight is someone many in this chamber know and respect. Michael Cianchette, who was my chief legal counsel, is now deployed to Afghanistan.Mike is truly one of Maine's best and brightest, and we send him our best wishes for a safe return home. Mike's lovely wife, Michelle, is here with us tonight. Michelle, please stand.Our administration is working hard so young Mainers like Mike and Michelle can continue to live and work in our state. We want our young families to enjoy a growing economy that allows them to prosper and succeed.Mainers are a breed apart. Many of us value our individuality. We work hard. We take care of each other.I love my state. I am proud to call myself a Mainer. I want every Mainer to succeed and prosper. But Maine is at a crossroads. We have huge challenges.Higher taxes and bloated government have not improved our lives. Higher energy costs have not attracted major investments to Maine. More welfare has not led to prosperity. It has not broken the cycle of generational poverty.We cannot return to the same failed policies of the past 40 years. We are better than that. We must be bold. We must have the courage to make the tough decisions.We can do better. We will do better.JOBS/ECONOMYWe must keep our young people in Maine. Recently, I asked some Bowdoin College students, "What can we do to keep you here?" One of them was Grégoire Faucher from Madawaska. He is eager to hear what the future of Maine holds for him. Comment ça va, Gregoire? Ca me fait plasir de vous avoir ici ce soir.Unfortunately, Gregoire hears more about job prospects in Boston or New York or even New Hampshire than right here in Maine. He wants to stay in Maine. But he may have to leave to find higher-paying jobs and better opportunities.Greg and his classmates are the kind of young people we need to grow our state's economy. We must create a business climate that encourages investment that will employ Maine people.Recruiting job creators to come to Maine is not easy. The global competition is fierce. Investment capital goes where it is welcomed and stays where it is appreciated.As Winston Churchill said: "Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon."Since we took office, we have made Maine more competitive. Maine's unemployment rate has fallen to 6.2%. It's the lowest since 2008. Almost 13,000 new private-sector jobs have been created since we took office. • We reduced bureaucratic red tape. • We cut the automatic increase to the gas tax. • We eliminated almost $2 billion in pension debt. • We right-sized government. • We found efficiencies within state agencies. My proudest achievement: paying $750 million in welfare debt to Maine's hospitals. It sent the message that, in Maine, we pay our bills.Because of our efforts, good-paying jobs are being created all over the state. • In Portland, the Eimskip shipping service. • In Wilton, Barclaycards. • In Brunswick, Tempus Jets. • In Nashv[...]

Governor LePage's 2013 State of the State Address As Prepared

Tue, 05 Feb 2013 20:00:47 EST

"Chief Justice Saufley, President Alfond, Speaker Eves, members of the 126th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens. Tonight, I am here to update you, the people of Maine, about the condition of our great state. First, I must recognize and thank a few individuals. To my wife Ann, Ann please stand, I would not be here tonight without you. You have made Maine proud as our First Lady, especially through your support of our armed services and their families.To my family and friends, I appreciate all you have done, your unwavering support, and all you continue to do throughout my life's journey.Staff Sergeant Justin Middleton, the military herald this evening, thank you for your courageous service to our state and nation.Members of our military and veterans that are here tonight, please stand.We salute you and extend our sincerest appreciation to each and every one of you for your service in keeping a safe and free people.In the balcony, you'll notice an empty chair next to our uniformed service members. This chair represents every Mainer who is serving overseas, in harm's way, so we can be here tonight and exercise our freedom to assemble and our freedom to speak.I ask that we all take a moment to remember, recognize and thank our men and women in uniform.Recently, Ann and I had the opportunity to go down to Arlington National Cemetery during the Wreaths Across America trip.As I walked through rows and rows of tombstones, marking the final resting place of our fallen American heroes, I remembered one simple truth: These individuals paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations had the opportunity to pursue their piece of the American Dream. It is a dream we cherish and the freedom that marks our lives is so rare for the rest of the world. The American experience represents a unique moment in time. We must not abandon it!If each and every one of our elected officials visited Arlington, they might realize the political battles we wage are meaningless in comparison to the blood that's been shed to protect our American Dream. We all recognize that the political climate in Washington D.C. is toxic. With no solutions in sight, the Federal debt grows at such a pace that many of us question how the American Dream will ultimately survive for our children and grandchildren to experience. We owe it to each and every one of our fallen heroes, as elected officials, to come together and develop solutions to our challenges. We must commit to make our state a better place to live and raise our families. There is no more important thing in most of our lives than our families. Maine families are struggling. With a median household income of just under $48,000, Maine families survive on far less money than those in other states. Maine families struggle to heat their homes, fill their cars with gasoline, put food on the table, and pay for health insurance. Government has not strengthened Maine families with more income, opportunity, or reducing the cost of living. Instead government has taken more and more of our family's hard working income away to serve some people's political and/or financial self interests. The path forward offers two choices. We continue to accept the status quo or we can make the tough decisions to create a better Maine for everyone.We can only do this if we work together. Every Mainer deserves the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.Recognizing our AccomplishmentsLast session, we took steps to improve our economy. We provided Mainers the LARGEST TAX CUT in history in a bipartisan effort.Despite rhetoric to the contrary: 70,000 working Maine families no longer pay state income tax.Two thirds of all taxpayers are receiving tax relief, easing the burden on middle class Maine families. The average Maine family is receiving a $300 tax decrease. A 28% reduction in their state income tax. We also reduced taxes for Maine's job creators. A[...]

Governor Celebrates Hanukkah

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:10:04 EST

Governor Paul R. LePage commemorated Hanukkah in Maine with a celebration and menorah lighting today at the State House. The lighting took place on the second floor of the State House in the Hall of Flags outside the Office of the Governor.

The Governor joined the Honorable Rabbi Moshe Wilansky, who runs the Chabad House for Maine, and other members of Maine's Jewish community, including Senate President Justin Alfond.

State House Wreath Laying Ceremony

Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:08:30 EST

On Monday, Governor Paul R. LePage joined members of the Maine Funeral Directors Association (MFDA) and their families and friends to help kick off the 2012 Wreaths Across America (WAA) campaign. The WAA State House Ceremony included a Wreath Laying Ceremony in the Hall of Flags at noon. The annual event helps to promote a week-long celebration of America's veterans and their service to country.

The Governor's remarks can be found in the attachment below.

State of the State

Wed, 25 Jan 2012 10:21:15 EST

Governor LePage 2012 State of the State AddressPresident Raye, Speaker Nutting, Chief Justice Saufley, members of the 125th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens. I am here tonight to update the Legislature on the condition of our great state. However, before I begin, I want to recognize and thank a few people.First and foremost, I want to thank my wife Ann, and family who have been so supportive, I appreciate all you have done and continue to do. Master Sergeant Chad E. Smith, the Military Herald this evening, thank you for your courageous service to our great state and nation.I would also like to recognize and thank Major Mark Stevens. Next month Major Stevens will be leading his soldiers to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, for their 3rd deployment in the Middle East in support of this great country. Not only is Major Mark Stevens the commander of the unit, but he is also the marketing manager of a business in Southern Maine. Major Stevens is a true citizen soldier. Major, thank you for your service, we wish you and your unit God speed. RECOGNIZING OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS I am pleased to report that in the last year, we have taken a right turn on the road to economic recovery.In a bipartisan effort we passed the largest tax cut in state history for hardworking, Maine taxpayers. Not only did we cut the top rate for individuals; we are supporting working low income Maine people by ensuring seventy thousand Maine families will no longer pay state income tax, until they earn higher incomes. That is a real helping hand to put them on the road to self-sufficiency and prosperity. Some claim our tax cuts are tax cuts for the rich. In Maine the top income tax rate kicks in at an income of under $20,000 dollars per person. Let me tell you this, no matter what anybody says - $20,000 dollars is not rich.Two thirds of Maine's hardworking taxpayers will receive tax relief next year. Maine families will have more money for heating oil, for groceries, and gas for their vehicle. This was not an easy task. I thank the Legislature for their efforts in focusing on making our state a more prosperous home for all Mainers, and for helping us put Maine people before politics. Just one year ago my administration faced a $4.1 billion dollar shortfall in the pension system. Together, we eliminated over $1.7 billion dollars of pension debt on the books, 45% of the existing pension shortfall, while protecting retirees' future pensions through sensible reforms. You can't pay a pension with an I.O.U.In other areas, Maine state government has a new attitude. With the leadership of Senator Garrett Mason, Maine became the 41st state in the union to adopt charter school legislation. In addition to passing charter school legislation, my last budget increased general purpose aid to K-12 education by $63 million. As promised throughout my campaign, a 5-year cap was placed on welfare benefits. Workers' compensation insurance premiums are down 7%. Unemployment is also down, and lower than the national average.Maine's Department of Transportation under the superb leadership of Commissioner David Bernhardt saved more than $100 million dollars, without sacrificing our infrastructure improvements. Red tape was reduced. We are not here to tell Maine job creators what they can't do; we are here to help them find out what they can do.Providing superior customer service to all Mainers is the first job of state government. We are changing the culture of state agencies from "NO" to "CAN DO." Together, these things add up to one reality: Maine is Open for Business. And the word is getting out.During 2011, we heard from dozens of businesses who have pledged investments in Maine totaling $100 million dollars, with plans to create over 1,000 new, good paying jobs. In this last year, we have not only reopened bus[...]

L.R. 2067 (Governor's Biennial Budget) Testimony

Wed, 02 Mar 2011 12:53:47 EST

Testimony of Maine Governor Paul LePage Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations March 2, 2011

Chairman Rosen and Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, I want to thank you for the hard and thoughtful work you are putting into our budget submission. We have high responsibilities to the people of Maine and I respect the approach this panel takes to its work.

52,529. That is the number of state workers or teachers who are either in our retirement system or are within ten years of obtaining retirement age. These are long-serving state employees and teachers who are counting on Maine's pension system to sustain their golden years. Many will receive no social security and very few have the work years left to make other arrangements for their future.

We have both a Constitutional and Moral Obligation to save our defined benefit pension system for our retirees. We also live in a state with finite resources and there is no amount of obligation, wishing or avoidance that will change this hard economic fact.

Without reform, we would need to appropriate $926 Million over the biennium to meet our normal and unfunded liability pension obligations. That is 15% of our projected General Fund Revenues and crowds out needed spending on education, our social safety net, health care, public safety, and places ever-increasing demands on Maine's taxpayers who labor under one of the highest tax burden in the country.

The problem today is severe. Ignored, the problem grows to the point where our biennial pension expenses will exceed $1.5 billion by the end of the decade, consuming approximate one-in-every-four dollars in General Fund Revenue. If we let the problem get to this point, Maine's defined pension benefit program will cease to exist and our promises to retirees will go unmet.

Let me say it again. If we do not act, people in this room will be forced to make funding decision so dire that our current state retirement system will have to be cast aside.

There are many factors to blame for our pension shortfall. Poor market performance, higher life expectancies, unreasonable expectations, and growth in government Maine's taxpayers simply cannot afford.

Our budget proposal takes on our $4.3 billion pension system shortfall and puts us on a sustainable path toward fully funding our retirement obligations. Only then, when the money to pay for our promises is in the bank, we will have truly and honestly kept our promises to Maine's retired public servants.

Our fix is not easy. But it is honest and it is essential if we want to keep our commitments.

We ask for sacrifice from retirees in the form of COLA freezes and caps.

We ask for sacrifices from current state workers and teachers in the form of higher contributions and later retirement ages.

And we ask for continued sacrifices from taxpayers who for the next seventeen years will have to dig even deeper to pay for the un-kept promises and assumptions of the past.

I appreciate your consideration of our budget submission and my comments today. I welcome your questions.

Budget Address

Fri, 11 Feb 2011 08:50:17 EST

FY 2012 / 2013 Biennial Budget Address Maine Governor Paul R. LePage - February 10, 2011 President Raye, Speaker Nutting, members of the 125th Legislature, and citizens of Maine, thank you for the invitation to discuss our budget submission for the 2012 / 2013 Biennium. It takes a great deal of work to prepare a budget - especially for a newly elected Governor. I would like to begin by commending my transition budget team led by Sawin Millett and Tarren Bragdon for all their hard work. Volunteers all, they gave us great ideas and a great head start. I would also like to offer a special thanks to Ryan Low for temporarily joining our budget team. Ryan's professionalism and dedication to public service is an example for all. I must also compliment the 125th Legislature for the professional and bipartisan work that went into enacting the Supplemental Budget. Representative Flood, Senator Rosen and the entire Appropriations Committee have my thanks for a job well done. I also want to thank Speaker Nutting, President Raye, Representative Cain and Senator Hobbins for their leadership. I would welcome the same result with my biennial budget. INTRODUCTION Our 2012 / 2013 biennial budget is a jobs bill. It sets us on a path to keeping more money in the private sector and ends the expectation that every available resource should be devoted to funding the operations of state, county and community government. Our budget includes long term reforms that will make our state pension system and workforce more affordable. It increases aid to education and allows for transportation investments without adding to our debt burden. And this budget encourages hard work and independence through needed welfare reforms and tax cuts for Maine's small businesses and working families. REFORM THE BUDGET PROCESS Our budget was written without consideration for political interests or special favors. It makes tough choices and puts people first. But it could have been more comprehensive if we had the time to conduct oversight and make informed decisions about the performance of state programs and agencies. Our budget is being made available on the 37th day of my term. Given the logistics of drafting and printing the document, all of the major decisions were made before I was in office a month and before most of my commissioners were confirmed. Fifty members of the House and five Senators have no prior Legislative experience. Collectively you represent well over a third of Maine's population and today is the 14th session day since you took office. Every committee chair, member of leadership and presiding officer is also new to his or her post. We should ALL be spending our first year on oversight and decision making. Every agency, program and service ought to start at zero and justify their objectives and practices. And before a budget is drafted, suggestions for improvement should be considered. Because baseline budgeting and assumed increases are the norm, every biennial budget since 1992 but one has started with a deficit. There is not a business, municipality, hospital or nonprofit that would willingly flirt with insolvency every budget cycle the way state government does. We need to change the process. Representative Ayotte has sponsored legislation, An Act to Establish a New Method of Determining the State Budget, starting the fiscal biennium in the second regular session of the Legislature. The bill is cosponsored by President Raye, Representatives Cain and Curtis as well as Senators Rosen and Sherman. Representative Ayotte's proposal would give all of us the time we need to conduct oversight and work with the agencies to set priorities. I strongly support the bill and would sign it right now if we could pass it by a show of hands. PUBLI[...]

Inaugural Address of Maine Governor Paul R. LePage

Wed, 05 Jan 2011 17:26:43 EST

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the 125th Legislature, Governor Baldacci, former Governors King, McKernan, Brennan and honored guests. Welcome.Mainers have a long tradition of working together.As I begin I would like to thank John Baldacci. John, Karen and his entire administration have done all we have asked to make this transition a success. Ann and I are very grateful, and we join all Mainers in thanking the Baldaccis for their service to city, state and nation.Like every proud dad and husband, I did not need to take the oath of office to believe I have Maine's first family. But now that it is official, let me thank Ann and my children for their love and support during the last 16 months.First and Foremost, I am a businessman who served his community as a Mayor and now as Governor. My pledge to the Maine People is to put you before politics:The parents trying to make a better life for their kids; The retirees trying to hold onto their homes on a fixed income;The college graduate trying to find a good paying job; The entrepreneurs with the courage to take a chance on an idea; andThe taxpayers tired of footing the bill for a bloated establishment in Augusta.It is time to make state government accountable. It is time to deliver value. It is time to put people first.The word "people," appears in the Maine Constitution 49 times. You cannot find a single mention of the words "politics," "Republican," "Democrat," "Green," or "Independent" in 37 pages of preambles, articles and sections of our State Constitution.The framers had it right. People come before politics.Partisan affiliations, political leanings and the obsession with winning and losing have been getting in the way of solving Maine problems. We need a new approach and it starts right here and right now!I am willing to listen and work constructively with anyone committed to honest solutions that benefit all Maine people.To ensure I get plenty of input, I will be hosting monthly breakfast meetings with groups of teachers, business leaders and environmental leaders. Oatmeal and solutions will be on the menu.I will re-introduce Governor McKernan's "Capitol for a day program" where town hall meetings are held in each of Maine's 16 counties. We are going to get around and learn from the people of Maine.I will host constituent service hours to meet directly with the people of Maine. Come in and share your concerns, tell me about your ideas and, if we disagree, we can look for common ground so we can move Maine forward.While I will listen to anyone, my Administration will be focused on making Maine work for everyone. There will be no favorites, carve outs, or favors for the special interests. Good policy is public policy for everyone.There is no greater example of serving the common good than the sacrifice of our service men and women. The peaceful transfer of power, our rights and our liberties are not free. They are earned each and every day by those who serve.Forty-Six service members from Maine have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our state and our nation in the last seven years.I am honored that some of the families of our fallen heroes are here today.Dan and Suzanne Brochu along with their daughter Sadie are with us. They lost Private First Class Jordan Brochu in Afghanistan in August of 2009.Starting tomorrow, Suzanne will be the receptionist in my office at the State House.The family of Corporal Andrew Hutchins of New Portland is also with us.Corporal Hutchins gave his life in service to Maine and the Nation last November in Afghanistan. Corporal Hutchins' wife Heather is due to give birth to their first child, Allyssa Braelynn, in March.All of Maine shares the sorrow of the families of our fallen heroes and we all honor their service to protect our lib[...]

University of Maine Commencement Speech

Mon, 10 May 2010 10:53:16 EDT

MORNING: President Kennedy, Provost Hunter, Trustee Johnson, honored guests, graduates, and family, friends and supporters:AFTERNOON: President Kennedy, Provost Hunter, Trustee Newell, honored guests, graduates, and family, friends and supporters: I am honored to be here to celebrate your graduation from the University of Maine.Like you, I'm also graduating this year.And like some of you - I bet - we will be moving back home.Life at the University of Maine and life in Augusta really aren't that different.There are cliques and fraternities, rituals, pomp and circumstance, and a bureaucracy that you have to learn to navigate.There's lots of studying, and many difficult tests.(PAUSE)And the friends you make and relationships you build last a lifetime.I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my hometown of Bangor, my State and my country in elected office.Throughout more than 30 years in government, I have had the pleasure to meet many wonderful and inspiring people: Presidents, poets, statesmen and world leaders, authors and actors. People who have transformed the world, and people who have transformed their neighborhoods.But time and again, the people I find most inspirational are the young men and women of Maine, our State's next generation of leaders and thinkers and creators.When I look out into this crowd, I see a bright future for Maine and the country.And I know that we will be in good hands.(PAUSE)The world you will face is much different than the one that was waiting for me when I graduated from the University of Maine.I was a non-traditional student and didn't finish my degree until I was in my early 30s.But I was a late bloomer when it came to the classroom.My world had focused on the family's restaurant, politics and the community.But it was the University of Maine that opened my mind to a wider world, where I learned history and a broader point of view.I will be forever grateful for the friends I made, the professors who were mentors and for the love and support of my family that made the experience possible.(PAUSE)As a country, we have thrived during good times. And survived the down times.And we have learned hard lessons from the bubbles, the bailouts and the Wall Street bandits.Old dangers of Mutual Assured Destruction have given way to dirty bombs and terrorism.We live in a much smaller place, connected 24-hours a day, 7 days a week by smart phones, Twitter and Facebook.But in a world of constant communication where every detail is often shared, we don't talk to each other enough.On a national level, heated and angry political rhetoric too often replace discussions, compromise and empathy.Sure, people have plenty to say. But a lot fewer are willing to listen.They shout across TV screens at one another, reciting the day's talking points as if trying out for a play, staying true to a script that the audience doesn't want to hear.(PAUSE)I say this a lot, and it's true.In Maine, it's different.There's no question that politics can be rough and tumble, and there are real and significant differences between the political parties.But there is also a fundamental and core value that runs deeply through Maine's political leaders regardless of party affiliation.They are willing to listen and work together for solutions that put the best interest of the people ahead of short-term political gain.As Maine begins to emerge from a brutal national recession that has demanded stern action and tough choices from the President of the United States, to the Governor of Maine, to the President of the University of Maine, we have navigated our way in a spirit of honest debate and in good faith.Given the magnitude of the challenges we have faced, Maine leaders have worked in a bipartisan way to craft [...]

2010 State of the State Address

Thu, 21 Jan 2010 19:51:36 EST

State of the State Governor John E. Baldacci 7 p.m., Thursday, January 21, 2010 FINAL - As PreparedMadam President, Madam Speaker, Madam Chief Justice, members of the Legislature, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens:I can not remember a time that has presented Maine with such hard choices and such great opportunities.It's a bit of a contradiction - to talk about economic hardship and opportunity in the same breath.But that is the situation we face today.In the last 12 months, State revenues have fallen by $1.1 billion dollars. Unemployment has topped 8 percent; housing and businesses are struggling; and people are uncertain and anxious.It's a time of great turmoil.But it's also a time of incredible opportunity and revolutionary change. A time when our State is breaking with the comfortable past to blaze a new trail.We have come together to say enough, to put our foot down and to put an end to the circumstances that have held our people and our economy hostage.Today, we are laying the groundwork for economic revitalization and freedom from the tyranny of foreign oil.Are we there yet? No.But we are on our way.Despite the difficulties we face, the hard choices and hard work ahead, the next chapter in Maine's history will be one of resurgence, growth and opportunity.As I report to you tonight on the State of the State, I am not sullen or deterred by the road ahead.Because I know beyond question or doubt that the people of this State - our greatest resource - can persevere and overcome any challenge.And they are looking to us, the men and women gathered here in this great hall of the people, to lead.To balance tough choices and compassion.To reach forward to welcome a bright future, but also to make sure opportunity doesn't leave anyone behind.I see a Maine that is energy secure, with highly educated and successful people. Natural resources that are protected, accessible and put to work. A place where innovation and creativity prevail. And cities, towns and villages draw people from around the world to a quality of life unmatched.This is our job. We are in the midst of unprecedented times.Locked in a struggle between recession and recovery.The choices we make will help to determine which way Maine goes.About a month ago, I submitted to the Legislature my plan to close a $438 million dollar shortfall in the State budget.It continues themes you've heard from me before: A leaner government, increased efficiencies and frugality.The causes of the shortfall are well-known.Our State and country are beset by a global recession that has destroyed jobs and wealth, and undermined consumer confidence.My plan includes tough choices and pain.There's no way around that hard truth.It will impact people and their communities.It won't be easy. During public hearings on the budget, we heard people talk about their economic plight.Many of them told compelling, personal stories about how State government touches their lives, the good work that it does, especially in the area of human services.I am committed to maintaining life-sustaining services, but we can't avoid reductions.We must change the way we help people.And we'll continue our mission to reduce administration, so there are more dollars available for what's really important.If we can't break down the walls between State agencies to save money during this crisis, how can we tell other folks they need to go without?My budget proposal also contains new efforts to streamline government.I've suggested improving cooperation between the State's four natural resource agencies - the folks who help us manage our forests, fish, water and wild life.They have so much in common, but are artificially broken into four piece[...]

State of the State 2009 Part I

Tue, 24 Mar 2009 12:51:05 EDT

All of these projects will create thousands of good-paying, private-sector jobs in Maine just when we need them the most.

To capitalize on these new jobs and to build the industries of the 21st Century, Maine must invest in education, innovation, and research and development.

A generation ago, a high school diploma opened the door to a good job that could last a lifetime. That's not true anymore. Success today depends on a college education.

That's why I propose significant investments in Maine's institutions of higher learning so they can serve more students and make energy efficient improvements that will save money that can be put toward the classroom.

That's why I propose an advanced technology and engineering campus as part of our redevelopment plans for Brunswick Naval Air Station.

The center will bring together the University of Maine and Southern Maine Community College in a joint venture that will support the economic development of the Midcoast while also training students for the good jobs of the future.

This collaboration between the university and community college should be a model for greater cooperation between our institutions of higher learning.

We need to break down the walls that separate the systems and instead build bridges for greater efficiencies.

There's great potential for working together and saving money. And that means more resources for students and teachers.

Tonight as we examine the State of our State, I want to take a few moments to thank the men and women of the Maine National Guard, who every day make us proud, whether it's serving in Iraq or Afghanistan or responding to an emergency right here at home.

Right now, we have 15 members of the Guard serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds more preparing for deployment later this month and early next year.

All of these brave men and women are close to our hearts even when they are many miles from home.

We pray for their safety, and offer our sincere gratitude for their service.

In closing, I would like to return to Governor Brann, who served our State during the worst of economic times.

He said: "Maine women and Maine men have never faltered in the crisis. The ruggedness and stern grandeur of our land are reflected in the character of our people. The future of Maine has always been safe in the hands of its sons and daughters, and never more so than today."

Now in 2009, we have within reach the power to shape our own future, to write the next chapter in this Great State's story.

When our grandchildren and their children look back, I want them to see in us a generation that answered the call, that transformed Maine.

Our way forward is not just about energy. Or a cleaner environment, or even the jobs we'll create today, although all those things are important.

What I'm talking about is a new economy, one that's built to succeed in a rapidly changing world. But it's an economy that will rely upon those same Maine traits that have served us so well: Honesty, Integrity, Quality, Pride and Workmanship. Maine Built is Best Built.

There's a new era of opportunity and prosperity on the horizon. We will get there together.

Thank you.

Good night.