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Good Morning. This is Governor Paul LePage.

This week there was a lot of focus on my first 100 days in office. The loyal opposition took to the steps of the Hall of Flags to claim we are not getting enough done in Augusta to create jobs and boost the economy.

I could not agree more. And my challenge to those on the other side is support my proposals or bring better ideas to the table that will move Maine forward.

The budget I submitted on my 37th day of office reforms Maine’s pension system saving $500 million over the biennium and cutting our $4.3 billion unfunded liability in half. Most important, it saves the defined pension system for current and future retirees who are relying on their pension checks to finance their golden years.

Our budget proposal reforms welfare, supports communities and education, and keeps the safety net under Maine’s neediest families.

Our budget also closes a billion dollar structural gap with no mass layoffs of public employees.

Our budget also returns $203 million to Maine’s working families and small businesses through tax cuts. 439,000 Mainers benefit from the tax cuts we have offered and they will each have more money in their pockets to spend in our economy.

The loyal opposition believes my tax cuts are only for the rich. Let’s be clear, for the 2011 tax year, it will take just $19-thousand dollars to hit the top bracket in taxable income for a single filer. That means if you are single, and are a single filer, you pay Maine’s top tax rate if you have less than 20-thousand dollars in taxable income. That number is 39-thousand for joint filers. Not what I call a tax break for the rich.

And our budget eliminates automatic gas tax indexing. Over the last decade, Mainers have paid an additional $341 million at the pump because of gas tax indexing. We stop it.

If the loyal opposition wants to create jobs in Maine, quickly passing our budget and getting more money into your hands is a good start.

On Thursday, the Joint Standing Committee on Regulatory Reform and Fairness held their 9th public hearing.

LD 1 is a massive piece of legislation that incorporates many of the great ideas that have come from business leaders from across our State. It removes red tape and streamlines government.

The 34-page bill includes common sense reforms such as:

A Voluntary Audit program including incentives to disclose and correct compliance issues

A Business Ombudsman Program to assist businesses with permitting – a one stop shop and advocate for job creators.

The committee is also making progress on reforming the Board of Environmental Protection. At a minimum, I want to see a much smaller board with a narrowly defined role.

LD 1 is a good down payment on regulatory reform and I hope it gets to my desk soon along with many of the other proposals working their way through the legislative process.

And I am not done offering other reform proposals for the Legislature’s consideration. Not by a long shot.

There is much more to do in the next 60-days. I plan on rolling out initiatives that address energy and health care reform.

Maine has the 10th highest electricity cost in the country. Our high electricity prices are a $400 Million annual tax on Maine’s families and small businesses when compared to national averages. As reported in the 2011 Measures of Growth, in 1990, Maine’s retail electricity prices were 16% higher than the national average. A recent study has Maine 42% higher than the national average.

I will also be introducing a health care reform. We need comprehensive, market-based reform in our health insurance markets.

I hope legislators from both sides of the aisle will support it.

With Medicaid we need flexibility so we can afford to care for our truly needy without shifting more costs onto private insurance premiums.

Over the last decade we created 56 net new jobs in our State and added 100-thousand people to Medicaid. We must reverse those numbers.

I have given our elected officials the tool that will generate jobs. They just need to pass it.

So when Democrats accuse me of not being able to grow our economy in 100 days I simply ask them this: Why won’t they help us? Because the fact of the matter is, in order for the budget to reach my desk, a two-thirds vote is needed.

Thank you, and enjoy your weekend.

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