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Lawmaker: 'We Will Be Working Around The Clock Until A Budget Is In Place'

Lawmakers are continuing to try and reach agreement on a two-year state budget, with the current budget running out Friday at midnight, which will trigger a partial shutdown of state government.

House Speaker Sara Gideon told the House the Legislature will stay in session until a budget is approved.

“As long as there is not a biennial budget in place for the state of Maine, this state will not be operating, and we will be working around the clock until a budget is in place,” she said. “The most important and in fact the only piece of legislation that we have to pass in the first year of a biennium is the biennial budget.”

Senate Republicans have put a proposal on the table that puts about $147 million more for education over this year’s funding level. But that is well short of the $320 million in additional money for schools expected to be raised by the 3 percent surtax on incomes over $200,000 a year that voters approved last November.

That is a big concern for some Democrats, and a counterproposal is being drafted for the budget conference committee to consider.