Governor’s Vetoes Legislative Excesses

Date: April 30, 2014

Lawmakers will be faced with at least 46 vetoes when they return to Augusta on May 1 as Governor LePage responds to overreaching, costly, or inadequate legislation.

Workers’ Compensation – Employee Representation (LD 1641)

This bill would require that injured workers be notified about their right to have a representative of the worker’s choice present when the worker is being questioned by a representative of the employer.  In effect, it would require a Miranda-like warning.  The issue grows out of a nasty union fight with management at the NewPage paper mill in Rumford.

“This bill interferes with an open and free flow of information between employers and employees and, likely, would be severely disruptive of an employer’s right to have a statutory second opinion” on workers’ compensation matters, wrote Gov. LePage in his veto message.   “This proposed policy is a solution to a problem that does not exist in the majority of businesses in the State of Maine.”

Medicaid Expansion (LD 1487 & LD 1578)
These bills take different approaches to expanding MaineCare under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which NFIB members strongly oppose and overwhelmingly believe will lead to future state tax increases.

“The fiscal savings promised by Medicaid expansion and managed care are merely mirages,” wrote Gov. LePage in his veto message on LD 1487, the so-called compromise expansion bill.  “Previous expansions of the program have taught us that when we grow a welfare program like Medicaid, people will drop their private insurance and flock to government assistance.”

In his veto message on LD 1578 Gov. LePage wrote: “This bill models Medicaid expansion after what was proposed in New Hampshire, which modeled their expansion after Arkansas.  These states and this bill intend to expand Medicaid by using federal funds to purchase private health insurance…[The] Arkansas-style expansion is just like a conventional Medicaid expansion, only more expensive.”

Supplemental State Budget (LD 1858)
The Legislature in 2013 passed the biennial State Budget for FY2014 & FY2015 over the Governor’s objections.  LD 1858 is the second of two bills designed to fix gaps between expected revenues and expenditures.

“I cannot support a budget that uses gimmicks to keep it balanced,” wrote Gov. LePage  in his veto message.  “This bill cuts funding to the MaineCare account by $20 million in General Fund dollars by slowing down payments to providers.”

“Instead of setting priorities to address the real problems facing Mainers, the Legislature chose to support welfare for cities and towns and preferred to fund earmarks for political posturing,” he wrote.  “Instead of focusing on job creation, reducing taxes and lowering energy costs – initiatives that would have benefited all Mainers – the Legislature spent its time waging a political battle of trying to expand welfare five times, even though it would benefit those who already have options for virtually free health care.”

Small Business Job Creation Bond (LD 1827)
This bill would bond for a variety of programs including $12 million to fund two established programs at the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) that provide start-up and expansion capital to small businesses.

“While the title of this bill sounds good, we can serve our small business community better,” wrote Gov. LePage in his veto message.

“I support providing flexible capital for Maine small business…[T]he mechanism by which the $8 million portion of this bill is disbursed to the small businesses does not yield the highest return on Maine taxpayer’s investment.  I do support the portion of this bill that provides $4 million to insure portions of loans to small businesses made by financial institutions.”

As of April 29 Gov. LePage has vetoed a record 179 bills since taking office in January 2011.  Most of these vetoes have occurred in the past two years as the Democrat-controlled Legislature has battled with the Governor or, in the opinion of various observers, sent him numerous good-sounding titles in an attempt to score political points.

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