With a Stable Economy Now is the Time for Governor Mills to Prioritize How She Spends Taxpayer Money
Augusta – Today’s release of the May revenue forecast saw an increase in one time money for the current fiscal year and a steady economic outlook for the next two years.
Republican leadership in both houses and in the Appropriations Committee hope that this forecast will be used as an opportunity to set priorities for state taxpayer funds.
House Republican Leader, Representative Kathleen Dillingham (Oxford) said, “The one time money of $66.7 million affords us a great opportunity to repay some of the money recently taken out of the budget stabilization fund, help support road maintenance, and lower property taxes by restoring revenue sharing reductions in the Governor’s budget proposal or by expanding the homestead exemption.”
Assistant House Republican Leader Representative Trey Stewart (Presque Isle), said “The revenue forecast has once again illustrated that lower income taxes supports a growing economy and should suggest that the budget discipline imposed over the last eight years under Republican leadership should not be abandoned in a sea of pent up demand for pet project spending and a lack of prioritization by the majority party. The Democrats should feel lucky to be inheriting a strong economy that is paying good dividends and we hope they don’t now mess it up.”
The House Republican Lead on the Appropriations Committee, H. Sawin Millett (R-Waterford) was also pleased to see a stable revenue outlook and an increase of one time funding resulting from late income tax filers but did caution that we must be responsible in pulling together a budget echoing Democrat Senator Breen’s sentiments that we must “craft a smart and responsible budget that makes targeted investments.” Representative Millett went on to say that the one time money should be invested in property tax relief, the budget stabilization fund, and supporting road maintenance.”
We are lucky to have a stable revenue forecast and I hope we proceed with caution in planning for the potential of an economic down turn. It is important to set priorities so that we ensure that the taxpayer of Maine are protected. To that end I hope that the one time money is used to support the “Rainy Day” fund,” Representative Dennis Keschl (R-Belgrade) said.
Returning the money that has already been taken from the “Rainy Day” fund should be a priority of the Governor and the Legislature. In New Hampshire Governor Sununu has invested heavily in ensuring they can weather any economic down turn, something our Governor mentioned as a concern in her inaugural address. I hope she will see this as an opportunity to restore funds she took out,” Appropriations Committee Member Nate Wadsworth (R-Hiram) said.
Having a surprise surplus is an opportunity to make the budget more sustainable and responsible by funding shortfalls in the rainy day fund, road maintenance, and to provide property tax relief. These one-time funds should not be used to add to the baseline budget as it would make the budget proposal even more unsustainable,” Representative Amy Arata (R-New Gloucester) stated.