An Agreement on a State Budget

by Frankie Norman July 3, 2017, 1:04
An Agreement on a State Budget

LePage this week vowed he would not sign any budget that doesn't include his tax cut proposals.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz said Wednesday the lodging tax would be increased from 9 percent to 10 percent in October to help pay for the additional education funding.

The government shut down at midnight Friday after the Senate and House could not agree on a budget for the new fiscal year, which began Saturday.

LePage, a Republican, has for years been in conflict with lawmakers he calls too beholden to special interest groups and over-spending.

He also criticized the closed-door negotiations and accused lawmakers of rushing into a bad compromise "so they can go home for the Fourth of July".

The governor stepped in to negotiate a last minute budget deal, but was unable to create a new consensus, and no proposal was made public.

Legislative leaders in past days met behind closed doors to hammer out a deal after months of hearings resulted in multiple budgets rather than a single proposal.

Senate President Michael Thibodeau said while the deal is not ideal for both Democrats and Republicans, he is hopeful it is good enough to pass the legislature.

One of the last sticking points was a 3 percent surtax on annual income over $200,000, which was approved by voters in November as a means of increasing education spending to meet the state's obligation to fund 55 percent of K-12 school costs.

In between the feuding lawmakers, hundreds of protesters who had abruptly found themselves without paychecks coming gathered at the State House to protest the shutdown.

Republicans and Democrats in ME have debated over the budget for weeks, with much of the discord involving funding for education.

The exact substance of the governor's budget alternative was unknown late Friday.

"These are not huge items", Fredette said Saturday.

Lawmakers in both chambers of the full legislature worked throughout the day to send a budget to LePage after a six-member bipartisan budget committee reached a deal on a proposed budget late on Thursday night.

The government will partially shut down at midnight if there is no budget in place.

"This is about the future of Maine". "Press red and we'd be voting to shut down state government with no identified path ahead".

This year, revenues are healthy, with unemployment at a historic low.

Christie has ordered nonessential services halted, "including state parks and the motor vehicle commission to close beginning Saturday", the AP says.

The governor said his administration was taking steps to protect health and safety. Law enforcement and first responders would be on the job.

Additionally, she said, 167 state-funded construction projects are now on hold, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is shut down so no one can register their auto or get a license.


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