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.”