Maine budget showdown recalls 1991 government shutdown

When Maine’s state government shut down 22 years ago, potholes went unfilled, courthouses were shuttered, and liquor stores closed. Governor Paul LePage has raised the specter of another shutdown with his veto of the two-year budget approved by lawmakers. If legislators do not override the veto Wednesday, there could be a repeat of 1991. During that shutdown, state workers did not receive paychecks, highway and bridge construction projects were put on hold, and motor vehicle offices closed. Mary Anne Turowski, who was a state employee back then and now works for a state employees’ union, says the shutdown created hardships and disrupted most Mainers’ lives. But Charlie Webster, the Senate Republican Leader in 1991, said average Mainers were not affected. He said the shutdown was necessary to enact much-needed workers’ compensation changes.