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This week liberal politicians called on me to offer real solutions to Maine’s problems.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

It was an honor and privilege to speak before Mainers Tuesday evening and share my vision for our great State.

Anybody who knows me, or who has ever heard me speak, knows I do not claim to be a politician, nor do I intend to ever be politically correct. However, one thing is certain: actions speak louder than words.

As your Governor, I have always been committed to following through on my promises to the people of Maine. I came to Augusta with a vision to lower taxes, pay the hospitals and fix welfare. I am happy to say, I have kept those promises.

Today, more Mainers are working. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest in five years.

Taxes have been reduced for Maine’s lowest income earners, which created the largest tax cut in state history.

Charter schools and early college high school programs have expanded educational opportunities for our students, despite massive liberal opposition. But we are not finished.

As we reflect on the accomplishments we have achieved in just three years, there is much work to do to keep moving our State forward.

Last year, Maine finally paid its $750 million welfare debt to its hospitals. I will not incur that kind of debt on my watch. Hardworking Mainers pay their bills and the State should, too. Paying the hospitals was the right thing to do, but we must do much more to fix our health care system.

Liberals are pushing for more welfare expansion. They falsely claim it is free. The reality is Maine taxpayers will pay more than $800 million during the next decade if welfare is expanded.

What liberals refuse to say is that Maine already expanded welfare in 2002. It did nothing to improve access, lower health care costs or improve the quality of care. Instead, it created $750 million of debt.

It did not help Mainers who did not have health insurance. Ten years ago, there were about 110,000 uninsured. It’s the same today.

We simply cannot keep throwing money at an inadequate welfare program. The State is not meeting the health care needs of elderly and disabled Mainers. Adding more able-bodied people to the welfare rolls will only compound the problem. This causes the delay or denial of services to those who truly need it.

We must also recognize that welfare expansion threatens to reduce or eliminate State programs, positions and services. We are taking money away from mental health services, nursing homes, job training, education, roads, natural resources, law enforcement and our war on drugs.

Expanding welfare hurts our most vulnerable Mainers and affects programs and services many Mainers rely on.

We do not need policies of the past that have proven to fail.

Our Administration is focused on increased access and improved quality of care so Mainers can live happier, healthier lives. These are real solutions that not only show compassion, but work for all Mainers.

Thank you.

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