Published Date Written by David CarkhuffWhen the Bangor Daily News reported last week that Gov. Paul LePage "swore, pounded a table and stormed out of a meeting with three independent House members" earlier this month, the topic cited was ways to balance the state budget.
Maine Rep. Ben Chipman, I-Portland, said Tuesday he was one of those independent legislators to witness the governor's reaction. Chipman said LePage's outburst was triggered by a suggestion that the Legislature rescind tax cuts passed by a Republican-controlled legislature in the previous session.
"That just really set him off, he saw that as a tax increase," Chipman recalled.
"He stormed out and stormed back in," he said.
Now, Democrats control the Maine Legislature, and budget battles dominate the news. Funding for revenue sharing with towns and cities, which LePage has proposed suspending until the economy improves, may face resistance from legislators of both parties, Chipman said. In the meeting with independent legislators, Chipman said the governor was approached about restoring the funding to municipalities.
"He said he was willing to put the money back in (for revenue sharing) if we could find where to cut," Chipman said.