Maine Gov. Paul LePage is telling reporters he hasn’t decided whether to approve or veto Maine’s minimum wage hike — but he’s heard callously joking about quashing the bill approved by the state legislature in a recording obtained by the Bangor Daily News
The Republican was speaking at a Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce event at which no media was present when he addressed the Maine House and Senate’s intention to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2016.
“I’ve got a bill — they haven’t sent it down to me — but I understand that while I was away last week, they passed a minimum wage bill,’’ LePage said.
“I don’t know why they’re not sending it to me, because they know what’s going to happen,” he added to bursts of laughter and applause.’’
Turning serious, LePage then said: “Let me tell you this. When you’re the fifth worst place to do business and you turn around and insist on having the highest minimum wage in the country, what does that say? What kind of message are we sending to the potential investors?”
LePage’s sentiments are the exact opposite of what he said in public last week — telling the Daily News and the Portland Press Herald he hadn’t made up his mind. He further told the Herald he would review the bill once it arrives at his desk.
Daily News columnist Mike Tipping wrote of LePage’s apparent deception: “Far from considering the minimum wage bill, LePage makes it clear that he has already made a decision and makes a joke of the idea that he would even consider the increase.
“LePage also, as is often the case, gets his facts wrong. Even if no other jurisdictions increased their minimum wages over the next three years, Maine would still be at or behind the minimum wages of at least four other states in 2016: Vermont, Washington, New York and Oregon.’’
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