Gov. LePage challenges state lawmakers to do some 'meaningful work' for Maine people
AUGUSTA (WGME) – Governor Paul LePage says it's time for lawmakers to do some meaningful work for the people of Maine.
Tuesday, legislators head back to the State House with a long list of things to do.
As state lawmakers get ready to head back to their seats, and back to work Tuesday, Governor LePage says it's time for them to tackle the tough issues.
“When the legislature doesn't work it's all about lack of leadership or people more interested in getting elected than doing the work of the people,” LePage said.
Dressed down after his recent shoulder surgery, the governor says the state's new minimum wage law is hurting small businesses and the economy.
The minimum wage increased to $10 an hour last year. It will increase again to $11 next year and $12 in 2020.
“Minimum wage It's killing the state. We're losing our elderly, being hammered, hammered, hammered. Every day prices are going up, up,” LePage said. “We're headed for a real serious catastrophe with the minimum wage.”
A spokesperson for Mainers for Fair Wages released a statement.
“It's unfortunate that the governor keeps lying about the minimum wage. Since the wage increases began, employment, hours and earning are all up while prices are down.”
The governor says he's not opposed to a higher minimum wage, but would like to slow the increases.
It was a sticking point last month when the legislature adjourned.
Republicans in the House and Senate say they're all for it, democrats say the issue is a non-starter.
“Democrats are not going to support rolling back the minimum wage that was passed by the voters last year, so again I don't think that conversation will move forward,” Rep. Drew Gattine said.
Democrats say they want to focus on funding Medicaid expansion. Both sides seem to agree to work together during the session to fund county jails and schools.
“There a number of items, over 100 bills on what's called the special appropriations table, these are bills that have already passed through the House and Senate, but still need to be funded,” Gattine said.
The special session is expected to last two or three days.
Tuesday's first day of the special session will cost an estimated $42,000.
Each additional day will cost around $36,000, according to the executive director of the legislature.