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Maine Lawmakers Want To Start Work On The Next State Budget In December

Rebecca Conley
Maine Public file
The Maine State House dome in Dec. 2018.

The bipartisan leaders of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee are calling for the quick appointment of the new committee members and say work on the budget should start next month.

Gov. Janet Mills has found a number of one-time budget savings to balance the budget that ends next June, but many need legislative approval. The current Senate co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, Falmouth Democrat Cathy Breen, is calling for quick action in naming the new incoming committee so it can start work in December.

“We need to enact that; we need to put that into law with the supplemental budget and then we have the biennial budget right on the heels,” she says. “We absolutely have to get up and running at the earliest possible moment after committee announcement are made. And I am definitely planning, as chair, to call a meeting in December after committees are announced.”

Because of the complexity of the supplemental budget and the failure of Congress to provide additional pandemic aid, negotiating a budget will be even more difficult, says state Rep. Sawin Millett of Waterford, the committee’s lead House Republican. Millett is also urging that work begin next month.

“I believe that there are enough urgent issues on the budget side that require action early in the session rather than deferring until February, March or April,” he says.