Augusta – Wednesday night, Democrats and others on the Appropriations Committee are scheduled to vote out a majority budget proposal that is clearly a bad deal for Maine. It’s a budget that:
• Throws welfare reform overboard
• Contains no income tax relief for Mainers
• Continues the pattern of chronically underfunding nursing homes
• Provides welfare for non-citizens while Maine’s most vulnerable citizens continue to sit on waitlists for vital services
The only thing standing in the way of this budget is four House Republican Appropriators, Rep. Tom Winsor (R) of Norway, Rep. Bob Nutting (R) from Oakland, Rep. Heather Sirocki (R) Scarborough and Rep. Jeff Timberlake (R) of Turner, who are now known as “the gang of 4.”
These four House Republicans have consistently been the only voices of dissent, systematically voting down each of these terrible proposals and doing what is right for the people of Maine.
It wasn’t that long ago when there were three competing budget proposals at the state house. All three of the proposals had one common denominator; they all contained some form of income tax cuts. Now the Democrats and the Senate Republicans have struck a deal and are prepared to vote out a budget tonight that includes no income tax cuts whatsoever.
Nine days ago Governor LePage, Senate President Mike Thibodeau and House Republican Leader Ken Fredette all released the following joint statement:
“We all firmly believe the next budget must include meaningful income tax cuts that allow Mainers to keep more of the money they have rightfully earned. The elimination of the income tax is a priority for Republicans. We will continue to work together to reduce the income tax until it is gone once and for all.”
House Republicans remain resolute that we will not support a budget that does not contain an income tax reduction package and continue to reform Maine’s broken welfare system.
“This budget is like a bad dream,” said Timberlake. “Not only are there no income tax cuts anywhere, it keeps a broken welfare system in place and takes money away from nursing homes to fund methadone clinics. It leaves Maine’s most vulnerable, the mentally and developmentally disabled, on the sideline in favor of giving welfare to non-citizens. Our caucus is united. We will not support this budget.”
“I just don’t agree with the people who freely provide welfare for non-citizens while hundreds of Mainers with severe mental and developmental disabilities languish on waitlists,” said Sirocki.
Wednesday, the House Republican appropriators will present their alternative proposal as a minority report. This alternative will contain income tax cuts and better reflect the priorities of Mainers who overwhelmingly support reforming Maine’s broken, status quo welfare system.