ICYMI: Maine Republican Legislators Present Alternative to Controversial LePage Budget
Last week, Maine Republican legislators held a press conference in the State House Welcome Center, rolling out a non-leadership legislative member budget plan. This was in response to news of the Appropriation Committee’s ongoing efforts the previous day to come to a compromise on the FY 14-15 budget, in particular the zero revenue sharing portion as presented by Governor LePage.
Order of speakers: Rep Paul Davis (Sangerville), Sen. Doug Thomas (Somerset), Rep. Lawrence Lochman (Amherst), Rep. Heather Sirocki (Scarborough), Sen. David Burns (Washington), Sen. Andre Cushing (Penobscot).
Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), called the proposal from legislative Republicans to restore $368 million to the state budget “a step in the right direction.” But he cautioned members of the Legislature’s budget-writing appropriations committee to reject the Republican proposals to tax nonprofits and take over the assets of the Maine Health Access Foundation to raise additional revenues and seek other “realistic revenue alternatives.”
“Yesterday, legislative Republicans acknowledged the need to break with the governor and restore $368 million to the state budget in order to avoid property tax increases on hardworking Maine families,” Martin said. “Some of the most conservative members of the Republican Party joined in this appeal that includes new revenue. MECEP has maintained all along that Maine working families need a budget that funds our schools, protects our elderly and disabled, and gives our economy a boost without crushing property tax increases. Republican admission that additional revenues are needed to balance the budget is a step in the right direction.
Yesterday’s proposal did not include realistic revenue alternatives,” Martin said. “The proposals to tax nonprofits and take over the assets of the Maine Health Access Foundation amount to a ‘hail Mary’ pass in the wrong direction. There are much better alternatives that we urge members of the appropriations committee to consider.”
The budget, which finally after an extremely long session received unanimous approval from the Appropriations Committee, was the focus of the Governor’s weekly address last Saturday and will go to the full Legislature later this week.