AUGUSTA – Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage on Monday met with representatives from the Maine State Employees Association (MSEA) to demand that the union stop spreading “fear and misinformation” about a shutdown of state government.
“You are lying,” the governor told Tim Belcher, general counsel for MSEA. “I, as Chief Executive of the State, have had no plan to shut down state government. It did not come from the executive branch,” he said.
“Why are you scaring people?”
According to copies of letters distributed by the Governor’s Office, the MSEA stated in a May 6 letter that executive agencies and departments had been instructed to “prepare plans for an inevitable shut down of all non-essential functions of state government for the month of July.”
In addition, the MSEA, also known as the state workers union, states on its website that it has “credible reports that the LePage administration has directed state agencies to prepare for a shutdown.”
According to LePage, the MSEA’s reports are malarkey.
“This has been manufactured by the MSEA,” the governor said.
LePage told union representatives that he has sent a balanced budget that will not raise taxes to the Legislature. He said he has no plans to shut down state government.
“If the Legislature chooses not to pass my budget, then you folks need to sit down with them and get a plan together,” the governor said.
Lawmakers must enact a new budget before July 1 in order to avoid a shutdown of “non-essential” state services. It would be the first such shutdown in Maine since 1991.
Calls placed to Belcher’s office were not immediately returned.