Governor won't sign budget, state heads for shutdown

WCSH Breaking News

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The budget deal carved out by the Maine Legislature doesn't pass muster with Gov. Paul LePage.

In a press conference at the State House on Friday, LePage said he will not sign a budget that raises taxes. He said the deal that is heading toward a vote would worsen the financial burden that Mainers are already facing.

Without a plan in place by the end of Friday, state government will shut down. LePage said he will allow that to happen by withholding not only his signature from the budget but also his veto, leaving it stuck in political limbo for up to ten days. By exercising that option, LePage said he increases his bargaining power with legislators.

The Governor argued that any harm caused by a shutdown in the short term is preferable to the long-term damage Maine would suffer from higher taxes.

Speaking for Senate Democrats, Sen. Troy Jackson said he'd be willing to slash the lodging tax as a compromise with the Governor if it means avoiding a shutdown. House Speaker Sara Gideon said she and fellow Democrats will continue to seek common ground with their Republicans colleagues in the House, even if the Governor won't join in their discussions.

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