AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There were more tough words in Augusta today, as Governor Paul LePage accused Democratic leaders of being irresponsible and hurting the state, by taking money out of the so-called "Rainy Day fund". Democrats called the Governor a "bad CEO" who is hurting Maine himself.
The war of words came as the latest round in a dispute many around the Statehouse thought had ended. It's about the bill to prevent more cuts to the revenue sharing program for towns and cities.
The Democratic plan, which ultimately won strong support from Republicans as well, helps fund revenue sharing by taking $21 million from the state's rainy day fund. The bill became law last week without the Governor's signature, but he didn't veto it, either.
But on Tuesday he was slamming Democrats for raiding the rainy day fund, and said he would submit emergency legislation to fix it. The Governor would not give any details of the plan, except that it will find $21 million in other savings with which to replenish the fund, and bring it back up to $60 million.
The Governor says that's the minimum level he will accept before allowing the sale of new bonds for capital projects. The state has been planning to sell nearly $100 million in new bonds in May, and possibly another sale in the summer. But Gov. LePage has told the state Treasurer he will not approve those bonds until the rainy day fund issue is resolved.
The Governor called Democrats "irresponsible" and "incompetent," and accused them of only caring about re-election in November.
Democrats punched back at the Governor, with Senator Troy Jackson saying LePage was acting "like a petulant child". Senate President Justin Alfond said LePage is causing a crisis atmosphere in state government,and dismissed the Governor's complaints.
The dispute unfolded on the same day the Legislature's Appropriations Committee began four days of public hearings on the supplemental budget. Previous governors have submitted their own proposed budgets for the Legislature to then work from.
However, Gov. LePage has refused to submit a supplemental budget. The Governor says he provided lawmakers with a balanced budget proposal last year, which they changed dramatically, so he doesn't want to become part of their budget this year.
Democratic leaders said LePage is the first Maine governor in history to not submit a budget.