Public Opinion Matters – Supplemental Budget is a Win for Maine

Against all odds, public support allows Republicans to prevail on Supplemental Budget

AUGUSTA CIVIC CENTER- After weeks of advocating for conformity with federal COVID tax relief aimed at preserving Maine jobs, House Republicans tonight expressed relief that the Governor and full legislature have fully funded federal tax relief designed to help employers and employees survive the pandemic and preserve jobs. Governor Mills originally proposed taking $100 million from Maine employer and employees as new tax revenue to fund additional government spending. Public opinion, combined with unanimous Republican opposition, caused the Governor to reverse course and offer partial conformity. Public opinion and republican opposition again convinced legislative Democrats to move for full Paycheck Protection Program Tax (PPP) conformity.

“Maine employers and their employees rallied to our call and convinced the Governor and Democrats in the legislature to see the wisdom of supporting the people who will lead our economic recovery,” said House Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford). “In the end we commend our Democratic colleagues, the leadership of Speaker Fecteau, and his willingness to listen to achieve a bipartisan result.”

“This agreement almost unraveled when the Governor inserted herself in the process with her divisive statement,” said Assistant House Republican Leader Joel Stetkis (R-Canaan). “Republicans really tried hard to reach bipartisan agreement, which the Governor knows as she was party to some of those conversations. It is only through public outcry and Republican opposition that fairness prevailed in removing the Governor’s tax on small businesses ensuring that over $100 million was not taken from employers trying to survive the pandemic and lead our recovery. I appreciate that, in the end, we did what Mainers expect us to do, work together for the good of Maine.”

“Republicans will now focus on state tax relief for all Maine workers, not some,” said Republican Appropriations Lead Sawin Millett (R-Waterford). “The tax provision that provides a $10,200 income tax credit for 160,000 unemployed workers needs to be expanded to everyone who performed their duty to ensure essential services were provided for the rest of us, staffing our grocery stores, teaching our children, and working the front lines in our hospitals among countless others.  We are all in this together and our tax policy, going into the biennial budget, needs to reflect that important reality.”

Maine House Republicans will be proposing a tax exemption similar to the unemployment exemption contained in this budget that will provide relief to every Mainer that files taxes.

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