Governor’s ire hurts Mainers

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Anyone who has taken Economics 101 understands withholding $8 million in federal jobs training funding – and consequently laying off the people who do such training – is bad for Maine’s economy.

This is the latest political move by Gov. Paul LePage.

Not only is it economically irresponsible, but morally reprehensible to withhold funds that one, employ highly trained career counselors and their colleagues, and two, help ready and willing Mainers get back to work.

And for what?

Because the governor did not get his way.

His requests to consolidate the three regional workforce development boards that oversee such training programs into a single board have twice been denied – first by the Obama administration and now by the Trump administration.

So now LePage is denying workforce training agencies the money that enables them to do their important work throughout the Pine Tree State, while simultaneously throwing up another road block for thousands of job seekers and employers who need their workers trained.

The governor’s “I’m taking my ball and going home” bullying tactics have been long known, but this issue is largely flying under the radar.

House Speaker Sara Gideon urged LePage to reconsider his decision about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding. We applaud Gideon and encourage her colleagues to follow suit.

LePage is known to tout the state’s decreasing unemployment rate and his kicking people off of welfare, often crediting himself and his fiscally conservative policies. What will he brag about now that he has ripped resources away from the unemployed and underemployed and they’re forced to turn to welfare and similar aid resources?

We’ve witnessed firsthand the important work Western Maine Community Action workforce development employees do in our community.

But if the governor does not budge before Oct. 31, we can say goodbye to many career counseling, job training and education and work experience services for low-income adults, the unemployed and our youth.

Now who will be there to pick up the pieces for those who need help making ends meet?