Maine Gov. Paul LePage: Government shutdown "is necessary for the future" of the state

Maine's governor is willing to shut down the state over a 1 percent hike in the lodging tax

Published June 29, 2017 1:12PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

Maine's state government is headed for a government shutdown on July 1 if they can't pass a two-year $7.1 billion dollar budget proposal. And that doesn't seem to be a problem for Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

“[The shutdown] starts midnight tomorrow night. I’m not playing anymore," LePage warned in an interview with WGAN radio Thursday. "If there is a tax increase, get ready for a shutdown."

The Maine legislature is likely to pass a bipartisan budget bill that 1 percent raise in the lodging tax to cover additional education funding.

However, LePage doesn't buy the whole education thing.

LePage said he'd veto any tax increases whatsoever, and said he'd be welcome a shutdown.

"A shutdown is necessary for the future of Maine,” he said. "I’ve been talking to these people for six months, they’ve ignored, ignored, ignored. They’re playing games, they’re playing chicken at a 100 miles per hour. And I’ll tell you something you wanna play chicken, let’s play chicken.”

LePage slammed Democrats and Republicans who wanted to pass something he doesn't like. “They don’t get there," he responded to a question about what they lawmakers could to get LePage to work with them. "They work with the administration.”

Twelve thousand state employees' jobs may be in jeopardy if the state shuts down. "It is at the governor's discretion to determine which jobs are non-essential and essential," a spokesman for Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, told Salon. "There are 12,000 state employees in Maine and it is unclear how many won't have jobs during the shutdown."

LePage may not be ready for the political consequences of a government shutdown — in 1991 a government shutdown in Maine caused thousands of protesters in the State House literally chanted for former Republican Gov John McKernan's head.



By Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

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Budget Crisis Budget Bill Government Shutdown Maine Paul Lepage