AUGUSTA – Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage said in his weekly address that the federal government’s decision to withdraw funding for food-stamps, the National Guard, and a psychiatric hospital is a good reason not to expand Maine’s medical welfare program.
“The government shutdown sent the National Guard home without pay. Federal officials are reducing food-stamp benefits, and they just yanked funding for our psychiatric hospital,” the governor said. “But liberals still think they can rely on federal funds to pay for the expansion of welfare in Maine.”
Here is the full text of his weekly address:
“The failure of leadership in Washington, D.C. resulted in the government shutdown, and we don’t expect to see better leadership any time soon. The federal government is now $17 trillion in debt, and it is cutting food-stamp benefits on November 1.
“With gridlock in Washington, the massive debt and the end of stimulus funds, we cannot rely on the federal government to pay for existing programs, let alone new programs. The feds pulled $20 million for Riverview Psychiatric Center, even though the center is now in compliance with federal law.
“Congressman Michaud and Congresswoman Pingree even voted against paying veterans benefits if the shutdown continues.
“The federal government laid off our friends and neighbors in the National Guard; it is cutting food stamps for our neediest residents; and it has revoked funding for the mentally disabled. It won’t even pay for veterans benefits.
“But still, liberals in Maine believe the federal government will pay for a massive expansion of welfare. They don’t live in reality.
“That is why I am pushing so hard to make long-term structural reforms to Maine’s budget. We cannot count on empty promises from Washington to pay for programs and services for Mainers. We have the third most expensive welfare system in the country, and our educational costs are higher than the national average.
“With future reductions of federal funds, we would have to make drastic cuts to the programs that our families and children need and deserve. That is why we have to make the tough decisions now to enact fiscally responsible budgets.
“We must provide financial stability that offers an affordable and appropriate level of services to Mainers. Quite simply, we must learn to live within our means. As we have seen over the past couple of weeks, relying on the federal government is a recipe for failure.”