We’re still unpacking Gov. Paul LePage’s budget. However, at a glance, it’s beginning to look like a document that contains a smorgasbord of policy initiatives that overlap and intertwine and pretty much put would-be opponents in a variety of uncomfortable positions.

There appears to be a give and take in every major initiative, which could make negotiations between legislative leaders interesting, to say the least.

Meanwhile, it looks like progressives are gearing up for an inevitable assault on the governor’s plan to expand the sales tax base. They’ve already calculated 204 new taxes that would be created through the elimination of sales tax exemptions. The messaging possibilities would appear to be endless — a clown tax, a kitchen sink tax, a meat stick tax, a blimp tax. Democrats could have a field day with this thing, except, well, many current Democratic lawmakers voted for these taxes in the 2009 tax reform proposal that was overturned by voters. Republicans, of course, campaigned against the new sales taxes. One of them, Senate President Mike Thibodeau narrowly defeated Rep. John Piotti in 2010, one of the architects of the 2009 reform bill. Guess what issues were the focus of Thibodeau’s campaign?

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One of the most confusing elements of the budget proposal is the one that would remove the sales tax exemption for some “prepared foods.” This has been described as removing an exemption on candy and snacks, but a review of the actual legislation shows that it’s probably more accurate to describe the initiative as broadening the current definition of candy and snacks because those items are already subject to the sales tax. A few of the items jump out:

* Soft drinks and soda

* Corn chips, potato chips, pretzels, pop corn, cheese puffs, etc.

* Meat sticks, meat jerky and meat bars.

* Nuts that “have been processed or treated by salting, spicing, smoking, roasting or other means.”

I haven’t done a side-by-side comparison, but these broader definitions look like a reintroduction of the snack tax that the Legislature repealed in 2001.

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Watch out ventriloquists, clowns, comedians and jugglers. Your services could soon be taxed.

The carnival tax? When eliminating the exemption was proposed in 2010, they called it the clown tax. National Public Radio even did a story about it.

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The governor’s budget was such a shocker that it managed to overshadow other news: LePage’s impromptu call for the resignation of John Fitzsimmons, the president of the Maine Community College System. Fitzsimmons did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. According to an MCCE spokeswoman, he doesn’t plan to until he and the governor have had a chance to talk.

Helen Pelletier, a spokeswoman for the Maine Community College System, told Press Herald education reporter Noel Gallagher that Fitzsimmons has reached out to LePage to “open lines of communication”

“He is not going to be available to the press until he does that,” Pelletier said in an email.

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The governor and legislative leaders will have a slate of public appearances Tuesday.

LePage will attend the 74th Maine Agricultural Trades Show at the Augusta Civic Center at noon. Democratic leaders will hold a press conference at the State House Hall of Flags at 11 a.m. to outline their legislative agenda for the session. Republican leaders in the Senate will have a press conference at 1 p.m. to discuss their legislative agenda for the session.

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The House and Senate are in session today. Lawmakers will be referencing a bunch of bills, including the following:

L.D. 16 would prohibit a legislator elected for the first time after 2016 from receiving state-paid retirement pension and health benefits.

L.D. 18  would direct the Legislature’s watchdog agency to review the University of Maine System’s finances and governance practices.

L.D. 23 would remove the requirement of a debilitating medical condition to receive medical marijuana.

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LePage has been doing a variety of public appearances to stump for his budget plan. On Monday he spoke to Boston-based talk show host Howie Carr. Among other things, the governor said he was thinking about challenging U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, in 2018. You can listen to the full segment here.

It’s hard to know if the governor is serious, messing around or simply thinking out loud when he says this kind of stuff. Remember when he said he wanted to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2013?