AUGUSTA, Maine — The speaker of the Maine House of Representatives is urging Republican Gov. Paul LePage to change his decision and accept $8 million in federal workforce funding.

The Portland Press Herald reports Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon on Monday called on LePage to accept funding from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Gideon says forfeiting federal funds from the program would harm the state economy and impact thousands of workers.

The LePage administration maintains that the governor didn’t reject funding. Director of communications for the state Department of Labor Laura Hudson says the administration is working to centralize state workforce operations and eliminate costs.

Critics say LePage’s decision was fueled by federal decisions to block the consolidation of Maine’s workforce boards.