AN INFORMED, ENGAGED PUBLIC IS THE ANSWER
Weekly Republican Radio Address – July 8, 2021
The Legislature recently passed another supplemental budget to address deficiencies in the partisan biennial budget passed last March. This time, it received bipartisan support thanks to public outcry from listeners like you.
Democrats were wary of ramming through yet another budget piece without input from Republicans who collectively represent over 400 Maine towns and cities.
This is State Representative Jon Connor of Lewiston with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
Maine benefits when both parties have a seat at the budget table and decide together how to allocate your tax money.
That was not the case in March, when Democrats broke precedent and used parliamentary maneuvers to exclude Republicans from the budget process.
To achieve this, a budget was passed by a simple majority vote, and then the Legislature adjourned on March 30, saying their work was finished for the year.
The Legislature met in person a handful of times, pretended their work was complete, then carried forward hundreds of bills.
Public reaction was swift and strong.
Because of that public reaction, Democrats included Republican input to address the Governor’s change package totaling an additional $940 million.
The result was:
- The state will fund more than 59% of education costs
- Increased funding for nursing Homes and direct care workers
- Revenue sharing increases for cities and towns
- Increasing homestead property tax reimbursements to cities and towns to promote property tax relief
- Investments in health care, mental health and substance abuse
- Expanding broadband access
- Adding $60 million to the state’s “rainy day” reserve
- Securing money for roads and bridges
Where Republican involvement made the most difference was in the area of tax relief.
Early on, Republicans issued their priorities, which included property and income tax relief. This included giving the same $10,200 income tax exemption to working people that was provided to the unemployed.
Unfortunately, majority Democrats rejected this proposal to provide tax relief for working people and retirees.
In the end, Democrats agreed to return $150 million of the additional $940 million in revenue to the people in the form of direct a $300 payment to tax filers.
This will go to over 500,000 year-round tax filers in Maine.
Let’s be clear, this is not borrowed money. This is returning money to you, rather than allowing government to spend it on new ongoing programs.
Republican budget involvement also ensured that overall spending is limited to $8.5 billion over two years instead of the $8.77 billion proposed by majority Democrats and the Governor.
This budget is still substantially higher than Governor LePage’s last budget and higher than what Republicans would propose if given control of the legislature.
Republican efforts did reduce the potential future tax burden by nearly $300 million dollars.
In spite of the current political climate, Republicans were able to help shape the budget and return as much money as possible to you because of public opinion and involvement by people like you.
With your help and support, our goal is to cut taxes and achieve far more in the future by getting government out of the way and putting Maine back on the path to prosperity.
This has been State Representative Jon Connor with the Republican Weekly Radio Address.
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