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There is a new EBT card in Maine.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

It’s amazing how a photo can help prevent misuse and abuse of our welfare system. Not everybody receiving public assistance is abusing the system. However, a new card with a photo will help ensure the integrity of our public assistance programs.

Our Administration is ready and willing to assist the truly needy, and we are. But we know there is abuse within the system. This Administration is committed to stopping it.

Last week liberal politicians killed my bills supporting welfare reform. This week they’re killing jobs by rejecting my Open for Business Zone proposal.

Liberal politicians are working against middle-class, hardworking Mainers. They are too busy trashing common-sense bills that would fix problems in the welfare system and strengthen our economy.

One of my welfare bills simply banned EBT recipients from using their card to buy alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets and prohibited them from using it for bail and at strip clubs. Pretty straight forward, so I thought. These things should not be bought on the taxpayer’s dime.

Instead, liberals think we should do a study on how often EBT cards are used to pay for these things. It’s an insult to Mainers who want action now to ensure their tax dollars are being used appropriately.

There is a difference between wanting and needing something. EBT benefits are supposed to pay for the basic necessities. They are a temporary hand up. Alcohol, tobacco, bail and adult entertainment are not necessities. So, again I will submit another bill to address this issue.

I firmly believe Mainers want welfare reform. Liberal politicians should listen to the people who put them in Augusta in the first place. At the very least, they should not deceive Mainers by saying the welfare system works fine as is.

But welfare reform isn’t the only issue liberals are refusing to address. Now, they have killed a jobs bill.

Remember when Senate President Alfond said this? Ric Tyler: "Wouldn't it be better to have Right to Work jobs than to have no jobs at all?" Sen. Alfond: “No, it wouldn't."

This is the wrong attitude in Augusta. We need to encourage business to create and expand career jobs in Maine. My bill offered 3 major incentives: tax relief and reduced energy rates; recruiting and training assistance for companies; and paycheck protection for employees.

Companies need relief on taxes and reduced energy costs. Taxation and electricity costs are the two biggest factors making Maine non-competitive when trying to attract investors to Maine.

If we want to attract companies that offer good-paying career jobs, we must offer competitive energy rates. Providing solar rebates to wealthy Mainers is the wrong way to go.

Most importantly, employees in Open for Business zones would not be required to join labor unions. Large employers have told us they prefer locations in which employees are not forced to join labor unions.

But President Alfond and liberal politicians still said no to this common-sense bill. They are saying no to career jobs.

Despite their opposition, our Administration has made Maine more competitive. Maine’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest rate since 2008. Almost 16,000 new private-sector jobs have been created. It’s progress. Just think what we could do if liberals were onboard.

As your Governor, I will continue to push for policies my Administration believes are right for the people of Maine. It’s not about what I want. It’s about what Mainers need and deserve from their elected officials.

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