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LePage Declines To Include Own Pension in Cuts

In my column this week in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, I discuss the aftermath of last week's revelation that Paul LePage had exempted himself from the pension cutbacks he proposed for teachers and public employees.

Last week's piece got a great deal of attention, including stories on MPBN, on TV newscasts in Portland and Bangor and on the front page of the Sun Journal (the same article also ran in the Bangor Daily News). National blogs also highlighted LePage's hypocrisy.

All this attention did not result in LePage changing his mind or his policies, however. Despite two members of the administration telling the media that the governor would consider fixing the exemption, in the end he decided not to.

As the governor's spokesperson, Dan Demerrit, posted on As Maine Goes, "the LePage Administration is not going to run down to the Appropriations Committee because Mike Tipping wrote a column and pretend an additional $1,400 pension contribution from the lowest paid Governor in the country is a solution to our giant budget problems."

Video from WABI after the jump: Read more »

A Fact-Based Solution to Pension Problem

Galen Quint, a Maine retiree, is the most important person when it comes to the future of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. I'm sure you're asking "who is Galen Quint?" and "why should I care about him?" The answer is simple – Galen is part of the American dream that affords workers, after a life of hard work and playing by the rules, the opportunity to retire with dignity and security. Galen's future retirement security, along with the over 70,000 other retired teachers, fire-fighters and state workers and tens of thousands more current employees in Maine is at risk.

In the interest of full disclosure, Galen is also the loving father of yours truly. And no, Galen did not pay me to write this about him and quite frankly would probably rather me not write about him. However, his story is one that needs to be told over and over again. Galen, who was a 36-year employee of the Maine Department of Transportation, worked hard every day. He was proud to be part of a department that ensured Maine's roads are safe for his neighbors. He went to work every day and did his part. He did not cause the unfunded pension problem that we face today. In fact, he paid his share to help fix the problem, but more on that later. Read more »