Hi, this is Representative Trey Stewart of Presque Isle, the Assistant Republican Leader of the Maine House.
If Democrats are gearing up to spend even more of your money, it should go to fund critical needs that should have been taken care of in the $8 billion budget that passed last spring.
I’m talking about children and adults with disabilities that are on waiting lists for services.
I’m talking about roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure.
I’m talking about career and technical education opportunities for Maine kids.
In the rush to reward election supporters, identity-based special interests and cater to a national socialist agenda, core needs and priorities were not met.
The $8 billion budget that was proposed by the Governor and passed under one-party rule spent 99.995 percent of all available monies, including the surplus accumulated under Republican leadership.
When all the money was spent, legislative Democrats used shady procedural tactics to alter fiscal notes on bills and held over an extraordinary number of costly proposals hoping to find ways to fund them in 2020.
The budget passed last June is already close to a billion dollars over the last LePage budget.
According to nonpartisan staff, the price tag for the list of bills carried over for consideration in January is close to a billion dollars more!
Previous Republican Radio Addresses have outlined our concerns with this massive, unsustainable budget.
Unless Democrats reverse course and decide to live within your means, it will require tax increases.
For months, lobbyists have approached Republican leadership seeking future support for items that will be in a large, supplemental budget the Mills Administration will submit to us in January.
We have no details yet on big the supplemental budget request will ultimately be, but if history is any indication, you should hold onto your wallet.
The Governor and legislative Democrats have begun talking about potential upward adjustments to revenue projections because of a stronger than anticipated economy.
In light of this, Republicans are increasingly concerned that the spending spree will continue in January, even though core priorities that were not included in the budget will remain underfunded.
- There are approximately 1,639 children and adults with disabilities that are on waiting lists for services.
They are families that are in absolute crisis and need our help. Many individuals cannot walk, talk, or feed themselves. Most will need 24-hour care for the rest of their lives.
The function of taxpayer-funded public assistance programs should be to provide support for these and other vulnerable citizens first, before considering new program and benefits.
- Maine roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure are chronically underfunded – It is so bad that a Blue Ribbon Commission is studying ways to address the problem.
But, why not do what families and businesses do?
Budget for it.
- Career and technical education (CTE) – Maine is facing a demographic crisis. We need more workers to fill open and future jobs, and fuel economic growth in our aging state.
But, Governor Mills proposed cutting CTE in Maine schools, while simultaneously adding 36 new hires at the Maine Department of Education, 16 of which were non-teaching positions to “build staffing capacity.”
Republicans on the Education Committee voted to fund $2.6 million for CTE schools, while Democrats slashed that proposal in half.
Ultimately, Maine’s Career and Technical Education Centers received less money than they did in their previous fiscal year.
Democrats prioritized just about everything ahead of these critical needs that benefit everyday Mainers. They spent money on taxpayer-funded abortions, illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, subsidies for electric cars, windmills, climate change studies and many other things that average Mainers wouldn’t consider immediate priorities.
Democrats should be setting priorities that closely align with the needs of all Maine, not just Portland.
Republicans understand that Democrats will never return excess revenues to taxpayers like you or lower taxes.
We do hope, at the very least, that any excess revenues will be used to address Maine’s most pressing needs and/or be set aside to address future economic shortfalls that the Governor has been warning us against since she took office.
Rather than reward identity-based categories of people, we should direct limited taxpayer resources to core priorities, our most vulnerable citizens and projects that benefit all Mainers.
Republicans support policies that benefit everyone. Please join us in encouraging Democrats to do the same.
This has been State Representative Trey Stewart with the Republican Radio Address, thank you for listening.
Trey Stewart represents House District 147, Presque Isle. He is the Assistant Republican Leader of the Maine House of Representatives.