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Union spreading lies about government shutdown, says LePage

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Gov. Paul LePage has accused the state workers union of lying about a government shutdown.

Gov. Paul LePage has accused the state workers union of lying about a government shutdown.

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?”

[RELATED: Maine Democrats reaffirm State’s role as union’s collections agent…]

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.

[RELATED: Democrats kill bipartisan bill to protect State workers’ paychecks from union…]

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.

S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter
srobinson@mainepolicy.org

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson was the editor of The Maine Wire from 2013 through 2014. A native of Dexter, Maine, Robinson is a graduate of Bowdoin College, and is currently a Producer for The Howie Carr Show in Boston.

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