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Maine Lawmakers To Vote On $7.98 Billion Budget In Coming Days

A bipartisan majority of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday evening for a state budget that totals just under $8 billion over the next two years. Eleven members of the committee voted for the majority report. One Republican offered a less expensive package and another rejected both.

 

House co-chair Drew Gattine, a Democrat from Westbrook, says he believes it will ultimately pass. “The majority report maintains the core of what the governor proposed in terms of a commitment to both K-through-12 and higher ed spending, a commitment to fully funding Medicaid expansion.”

 

Republicans have raised concerns all along that the budget proposed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills calls for too much spending - just over $8 billion. That was trimmed in the majority budget proposal, but not enough to satisfy two Republicans on the panel.The budget needs two-thirds support in both the House and Senate and it is likely to generate lengthy debate as well as floor amendments aimed at making changes.

 

Gattine says it's a bipartisan plan. “I think it satisfies some of the concerns of the Republican minority by reducing some spending that was proposed in some areas and I think it strengthens what was proposed from the Democratic perspective by adding the property tax relief and revenue sharing.”

 

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.