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Janet Mills Signs Democrats' $8.3 Billion Two-Year Budget

Robert Bukaty
AP file
Maine Gov. Janet Mills spoke about the state's coronavirus response at a news conference in April.

Gov. Janet Mills has signed the budget to fund state government beginning July 1. She considers the measure, passed by a majority of Democrats, a bare-bones plan that will set up the debate over spending priorities for the next two years.

Mills says the budget has no new programs or tax increases, and simply funds current services and programs that Mainers rely on.

She says with the basic spending plan set, lawmakers can next focus on new initiatives and decide how to allocate the more than $1 billion the state will be getting under the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress last month.

Mills says she hopes those priorities can get bipartisan support, even though Republicans voted against the current services budget.

“It’s unfortunate that it didn’t garner some Republican votes, because I think if you took a poll among all the voters of Maine, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, that they would probably support this basic, continued current services budget,” she says.

Mills dismisses the viability of an idea being floated by some GOP lawmakers to use the people’s veto process under the state constitution to block the budget, saying it would not get enough public support.

“Do you believe any of the towns would oppose an actual increase in actual dollars going to revenue sharing for the towns and local government? I don’t think so,” she says.

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