AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- "My message tonight is very simple. Put on your work boots, our job is not done."
That's how Governor Paul LePage (R-Maine) began his final State of The State address Tuesday night.
He forcefully challenged lawmakers to find the funding needed to pay for Medicaid or Mainecare expansion as enacted by voter referendum last fall.
LePage said "While I think it is a bad public policy when you give able-bodied people a free ride, it is the law of our state. I will enforce the law of the state."
"But funding is a legislative constitutional duty, and it is the Legislature's responsibility to appropriate the funds."
"I do not believe it's appropriate for this body to wait until after the November elections. Do it now. Do it now, the people of Maine, if you believe in it, then fund it."
The governor argued that Maine's biggest tax problem is the amount of land put into conservation trusts and taken off the tax rolls, leaving homeowners to pick up the tab. He said 20% of Maine’s land is in trust, an area equivalent to the entire state of Connecticut.
LePage raised his voice and said, "You and I need to make sure that the large foundations, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, who are ripping off the land owner in the state of Maine need to step up to the plate. They can put all the land they want in conservation. But they have to contribute to society."
► PHOTOS: 2018 State of the State
2018 State of the State
LePage also addressed the need to attract young people to live and work in Maine.
"Not only will these young people work in our industries, they will also buy homes, they will pay taxes, they will invigorate our communities, and yes, most important for Maine right now is have children. We need to have children."
To make it more affordable for young people to live here, the governor said he will submit legislation to help students avoid the crushing debt they often carry for years after college.
"My initiative, the Maine Student Debt Relief Program calls for a $50 million bond to fund zero interest student loans to Maine kids who attend Maine schools."
Governor LePage also spoke of some of his accomplishments over his seven years in office, from making Maine government more user-friendly for businesses, paying off the state's hospital debt and welfare reform.