Friday, March 04, 2011

More pension tension: Hundreds rally in Augusta Maine

AUGUSTA — Citizen activists taking sides on Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposals to reduce a $4.3 billion unfunded liability in the state pension system buttonholed legislators in an unusually packed State House on Thursday, while hundreds of demonstrators outside raised the volume of a debate echoing across the country.

A crowd of supporters of the changes, some of whom waved yellow Colonial-era banners that are a familiar prop at tea party gatherings, were welcomed by the Republican governor, who told them the time has come to get the state’s fiscal house in order and “everybody is going to have to share in the pain.”

“Folks, the only one that hasn’t been complaining is those who are paying the bills,” LePage said to cheers of 70 to 100 demonstrators.