AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Three independent state legislators say they were yelled at and called names when they met with Governor Paul LePage last week to talk about the impact of his proposed budget cuts.
The three legislators --Rep. Jeff Evangelos of Friendship, Rep. Ben Chipman of Portland and Rep. Joe Brooks of Winterport -- say they asked for the meeting to introduce themselves and discuss the budget. But they say the Governor became angry when they complained that cuts in revenue sharing and other programs for towns and schools would force big increases in local property taxes.
They say the Governor slammed the table and stormed out of the room. They say he came back a few minutes later and they did talk for about a half hour. Rep. Chipman called that discussion "mostly civil."
The legislators say the Governor called them idiots at one point, and said he would not compromise on the budget. They say they all suggested raising some taxes instead of making the revenue sharing cuts, but claim the Governor told them he would veto any tax increase -- although they say he did not promise a veto on increasing the lodging tax.
Schools also reportedly came up.The Governor has been very critical of superintendents, and has called for a dramatic reduction in the number of superintendents. The Legislators say the Governor told them he hopes the increase in property taxes will create public pressure to cut back school superintendents.
The Governor's office says a staff member was in the meeting, but so far has had no comment on the allegations from the legislators.
The Governor's Communications Director says he was returning from an out of state trip today, and had not been available to comment on the legislators' reports of the meeting.