February 1, 2013

Both parties look to curb governor's bond delays

Several bills call for restrictions on executive power, in another example of LePage and legislators clashing.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

"Bonds aren't the sole solution that are going to create the jobs we need," said Bennett, LePage's spokeswoman. "It's very easy to spend money, but you run out of money before you run out of ideas."

Revenue sharing also is separating LePage and some legislative Republicans.

Katz, the Republican Senate leader, and Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, have proposed similar bills to mandate that the state give 5 percent of revenue to municipalities in sharing agreements.

The state has taken $44 million in revenue-sharing money for this fiscal year to balance its budget, according to the Maine Municipal Association.

LePage, meanwhile, wants to take revenue sharing out of the next two-year budget as a temporary measure to save the state money. He has called it a difficult decision, and his office has challenged lawmakers to find alternatives.

While the leaders of both parties agree that revenue sharing should go to cities and towns, they don't agree on the political implications of Republicans breaking ranks to support revenue sharing.

The Democratic Senate president said it's because the governor is out of step with his party.

"He is a leader -- the second-ranking leader in the Republican Senate," Alfond said of Katz and his revenue sharing proposal. "There is a schism that's happening."

Katz, on the other hand, chalks it up to a political system that's working, not animosity between the governor and legislative Republicans like him. Revenue sharing is no partisan issue, he said.

"I caution people not to read too much into Democrats and Republicans signing onto the same bills," he said. "It's a sign that we're trying to do what people sent us here to do, which is to try to work together."

This story was updated at 9:35 a.m. Feb. 1 to refer to Tom Saviello as a senator.

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at:


Correction: This story was revised at 10:43 a.m., Feb. 1, 2013, to state that Maine has taken $44 million in revenue-sharing money for this fiscal year to balance its budget, according to the Maine Municipal Association.

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