Recently revised revenue forecasts mean that Maine will have an additional $940 million available over the next three years. That does not include $14 billion in federal aid Maine has received.
Republicans are concerned that money will not go toward supporting those who worked during the pandemic or toward chronically underfunded state priorities. It also defies logic that the Governor is proposing to borrow an additional $140 million on top of that $940 million in increased revenues and the billions of dollars in federal aid Maine has and will receive.
This is Representative Patrick Corey of Windham with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
In their haste to silence the minority, stifle debate and prevent compromise, Democrats passed a partial budget on party lines. What the people of Maine got was a sloppy document that is now in need of fixing in a budget sequel.
Examples of this shoddy work are numerous, but include:
- Funding for 6 new Assistant Park Rangers. BUT no funding for ballistic vests, radios, uniforms, training, and insurance for Forest Rangers in the same Department.
- Excluding funding to maintain helicopters necessary for saving lives.
- Cut rates to Federal Qualified Healthcare centers, Rural Health Centers, Adult Family Care Homes in the second year of the budget.
Now with the Revenue Forecasting Commission projecting an additional $940 million in revenues to spend over the next three years Republicans have publicly detailed our budget priorities. With the Democrats passing a baseline budget filled with gaps because of their refusal to work with anyone it is time to come together and pass a budget that supports hard working Mainers who have endured a lot over the last 14 months.
To that end republicans are focused on helping all Maine citizens recover and prosper going forward, especially those who have worked non-stop during the pandemic to ensure we had access to essential services.
Additional funds should go back to the people directly. The success of Maine workers and their families is what will allow Maine to recover and prosper in the months and years ahead.
- Republicans propose direct income tax relief – A $10,200 exemption for taxpayers that did not already receive one for unemployment income.
- Republicans propose to increase the Homestead Exemption Reimbursement to Municipalities from 70% to 100%. This will ensure that homeowners receive direct relief without affecting municipal budgets.
- Republicans want to increase Municipal Revenue Sharing from 3.75% to 5%
In addition to this 10-2-5 plan House Republicans have published a full list of budget priorities online.
Shortly after Republicans announced these and other budget priorities, the Governor released her budget plan to spend the additional funds.
There are many parts of the Governor’s plan that we can agree on. The only problem is that the constitutional budget process that traditionally leads to a bipartisan agreement was abandoned in March.
That means that the process that lead to an incomplete budget in March may once again leave Mainers behind. Let’s have bipartisan support for direct tax relief necessary to aide all Mainers. So far the call for this relief is being ignored by the Governor and her Democrat allies in the legislature.
Unfortunately this has been par for the course since March. The public supports ensuring that Maine gets back on track and is not interested in spending huge amounts of money blindly. Unfortunately the public has largely been cut out of the legislative process.
You who are interested in shaping state policy and voicing your thoughts and ideas to your elected members are denied entry to the State Capitol. Testimony on legislation can be provided online, but the rules are different for every committee and if you do not follow each of the 17 committees ever changing rules about when where and how you can testify you are likely be silenced by the majority party. This legislative session has reduced dissenting views and restricted serious policy discussions from taking place.
If you agree that everyone should share in direct relief and that money should go to chronically underfunded priorities, please contact the Governor’s office or Democrat legislators.
House Republicans will continue to support those workers that have supported all of Maine throughout the pandemic and everyone affected by COVID. Maine is on the verge of squandering an opportunity to help Maine’s middle class recover and put the state back on solid financial footing all for the sake of partisan spending priorities.
This has been Representative Patrick Corey with the Republican Weekly Radio Address.
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