PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills went before a joint session of the legislature to present her two-year, $8.04 billion budget last Monday.
It would spend virtually all of the state's projected revenues over the biennium.
The next day from his home in Florida, former Gov. Paul LePage told WGAN Radio that "the difference between Janet Mills and a drunken sailor is that a drunken sailor spends his own money."
Former Speaker of the House, Democrat John Richardson, called LePage out for that insult and says he should step back. "Let's give Gov. Mills a chance. Maybe a couple of months of not hearing from Gov. LePage wouldn't be a bad idea."
Republican Phil Harriman, a former state senator, says LePage is correct when he points out that virtually everything will have to go right financially in the next two years for the budget to be sustainable. But he wants to give Gov. Mills the benefit of the doubt. "She's been told 'here's what the projected revenues are,' the budget has to be balanced, so she spent the projected expenditures to keep it in balance."
But Harriman and Richardson agree that budgets tend to only get larger as lawmakers add their own spending proposals. Says Harriman, "It will be interesting to see what this looks like by the time the session is over."
Gov. Mills is drawing fire from opponents of a proposed power transmission corridor through Western Maine. During the campaign last fall, Mills expressed skepticism about the project.
But CMP has been tacking on some benefits for Maine. Mills now tells NEWS CENTER Maine "I'm encouraged by the fact that they are looking at environmental mitigation, they're talking about lowering rates, they're talking about solar and broadband, those kinds of things and electric vehicles and weaning our state off of fossil fuels."
Harriman says Central Maine Power has realized that "they've got to come to the policymakers in our state and demonstrate through their deeds that they want to be a good community member and partner."
And Richardson believes "ultimately we will see a transmission line, but when we see it it will be one that benefits the state of Maine."
Our analysts also talk about a proposal in the legislature to stop, or at least reduce the number of robocalls with sales pitches and phony caller I.D. numbers. They doubt it would do much to curb the problem.
John Richardson thinks there could be constitutionality problems. "I do think there's a lot of anger and frustration, I get why the bill is being put in, but I don't see it going anywhere."
And Phil Harriman suggests another approach. "I would like them to enforce the (Do Not Call List) law that's already on the books."
Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report.