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Janet Mills proposes boosting two-year budget to $10.3 billion for one-time spending initiatives

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press file

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills released a proposal on Wednesday to increase the state's next two-year budget to $10.3 billion, including an array of one-time spending initiatives for housing, business development and school renovations.

The proposal taps another projected revenue surplus and is meant to supplement the $9.9 billion spending plan that Democrats in the Legislature approved in late March.

Democrats are working on a separate spending package that they hope will be approved before the Legislature adjourns in June, and the governor's plan is effectively an amendment to that developing proposal.

Taken together, the governor's plan and the spending bill total roughly $432 million in state appropriations and will likely deepen a debate with legislative Republicans who are seeking to spend a near equivalent amount on income tax cuts.

"We don’t find the Governor’s change package responsive to the times, or responsive to the needs of the Maine people," Republicans in the House and Senate said in a joint statement.

The governor's proposal has particular focus on housing, while adding one-time spending to boost emergency medical services, child care support, offshore wind development and a cost-of-living increase for retired state employees.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.