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Folks, it’s deja vu all over again. Nearly five months after I submitted a plan to pay Maine’s hospitals, they still haven’t been paid. We’re back to square one.

Hello, this is Governor LePage.

Back in January, I submitted my plan to pay off the half-a-billion-dollar debt to Maine’s 39 hospitals. After 139 days, lots of delays and some last-minute political maneuvering, the hospitals are still not paid.

Democrats and Republicans agree my plan to use revenue from a new liquor contract to pay off the hospital debt is the best deal for Maine. With all of the public support for paying our bills, Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves know they can’t leave the State House without paying the hospitals. So what’s the hold up?

Democratic leadership pulled every trick in the book to avoid passing my plan. First, they held off hearing the bill for as long as they could. Then they claimed it was unconstitutional. Then they came up with a new deal for the liquor contract, which was pretty much the same as the old bad deal.

Then they replaced my bill with a committee bill that had all the elements of my plan, just to save face. Their final strategy was to tie the hospital payment to a huge expansion of welfare. They knew welfare expansion wouldn’t pass on its own merits, so they used Washington-style politics to force it through without bipartisan support.

Public support for my plan has been strong since day one. The Maine people want to pay the hospitals. In fact, they demand it.

This campaign by Democratic leadership to avoid paying the hospitals has serious consequences. Their political shenanigans have caused layoffs and prevented shovel-ready construction projects from getting started. Their refusal to pay the hospital debt is causing Maine’s credit rating to suffer.

Folks, I was not subtle. I said many times I would veto the bill if it was tied to expansion. And that’s exactly what I did. Seventy percent of Mainers believe the hospital bill should not be tied to welfare expansion.

Democratic leadership ignored the will of the Maine people, and they wasted valuable time on a bill they knew would get vetoed. They did this to appease their masters in Washington, D.C. and to please their special-interest groups at home. Democrats showed they care more about the Maine Peoples Alliance than the Maine people.

My plan will put many of those Mainers to work right away. It would pay 484-million-dollars to 39 hospitals, which provide some of the state’s best-paying jobs to Mainers. It would release about $100 million in voter-approved bonds and instantly create jobs in the construction industry. It would authorize a $100 million bond for transportation projects to fix our roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

My plan for a new liquor contract would return millions of dollars a year to Maine, rather than sending all that money to an out-of-state company. The new contract would benefit consumers, agency stores and the workers they employee. My plan was a good deal for Mainers five months ago, and it is a good deal today. Once again, I ask: What’s the hold up?

It’s time for Democrats to stop their deceitful gamesmanship. It’s time to pay the hospitals.

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