The Portland Press Herald reports the latest on the escalating state of siege in the Maine government right now as controversial Gov. Paul LePage blocks just about every piece of legislation coming out of the state legislature, even when they had strong bipartisan support:
LePage initially said he would veto all bills sponsored by Democrats because they refused to support a constitutional amendment to eliminate the income tax. Democrats said the governor has failed to come up with a plan to replace the revenue that would be lost.
Then the governor said he would veto all bills sent to his desk, regardless of the party of the sponsor, because lawmakers “wasted” time coming up with a budget the governor didn’t like. In retaliation, he said, he would waste their time.
Lawmakers are returning Tuesday to consider whether to override more of LePage’s vetoes. He has vetoed well over 100 bills so far this session, and the Legislature has overridden dozens of vetoes.
LePage also issued 79 line-item vetoes in the state’s two-year budget and a separate transportation budget. Those line-item vetoes were all overridden by the Legislature last week, but the governor is expected to veto the entire budget.
I suppose vetoing all bills is, in some ways, an improvement from just vetoing bills co-sponsored by Democrats. Ultimately, I think his plan is still to eliminate all Democrats for daring to not be right-wing Republicans.
That’s not terribly likely to succeed in Maine. But we’re not talking about a particularly rational political actor, considering he’s friends with people who believe government should not exist at all beyond the county sheriff level.