If former President George W. Bush will be remembered as “The Decider,” as he famously dubbed himself in April 2006, Maine Gov. Paul LePage seems destined to go down in history as “The Divider.”

Perhaps because a “divide and conquer” strategy propelled his successful campaign to capture the Blaine House in 2010, LePage can’t seem to resist the temptation to croak out flippant, condescending and inflammatory jabs.

LePage generally comes off as an equal-opportunity abuser, rotating barbs between legislative Democrats, municipal officials, the Obama administration, liberals in general and, most often, Mainers ill positioned to defend themselves. And he seems numb to the fact that, even though the targets of his verbal missiles vary, the collateral damage splatters all over Maine.

The $37 million supplemental budget presented by Sawin Millett, the governor’s financial lieutenant, to the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee on Tuesday offers the latest example of LePage’s divisive bent.

Unlike most supplemental budgets — including the recently passed effort to salve the latest Department of Health and Human Services hemorrhage — the spending plan proposed Tuesday is revenue neutral. It contains $37 million in proposed state government spending reductions, but also $37 million in tax breaks for certain businesses, retirees and members of military.

Complete annihilation of state funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and another swipe at Maine’s most impoverished residents — this time via proposed reductions to general assistance — would offset the revenue lost as a result of the proposed tax breaks.

Rather than showing sound fiscal oversight, as he promised during the 2010 campaign, LePage seems intent on co- opting the appropriations process to punish enemies and slip through political ploys that failed to survive recent legislative scrutiny.

Last year’s proposal to gut funding for MPBN withered under intense legislative and public opposition. Likewise, the Legislature, with leadership from members of his own Republican Party, rejected LePage’s initial health and human service cuts as draconian and inhumane.

Rebuffed but undeterred, LePage returns with a supplemental budget that aims to supplant fiscal responsibility with political ideology.

The proposed supplemental budget clearly pits “ haves” versus “ have nots.” It offers enticements to people with choices about where to retire, while slapping down those who have to choose between heating and eating — or going without either. It also promises tax breaks, but delays implementation and hard decisions about funding them until 2014.

Supplemental budgets, by definition, are quick fixes. They fill holes and pay bills; they’re not a proper vehicle to pull about-faces on long-established priorities. Debate about those priorities and government’s role should occur during deliberation over the biennial budget — when the vehicle is designed, not when it needs a patch.

The Legislature should send the odious proposal unveiled Tuesday back to LePage with a mandate that he limit his use of the supplemental budget process to addressing specific shortfalls. The end of the short legislative session requires a united effort at good governance, not fractious blitzkrieg political headhunting from the Blaine House.

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