Cain Says Budget Passage Shows How Far We’ve Come
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE FOR JUNE 18, 2011
June 17, 2011
Contact: Jodi Quintero [Cain], 287-1488, c. 841-6279
Good morning, I’m Rep. Emily Cain of Orono, the House Democratic Leader.
Thank you for tuning in.
This week, lawmakers in Augusta did what many said would be impossible:
We passed an incredibly tough two-year budget with bipartisan support.
Five months ago, when the governor first presented his devastating proposal, it was hard to imagine that a majority of lawmakers from either party WOULD support it.
Democrats believed it was unnecessarily unfair and extreme.
We felt promises to our public employees and retirees with fixed incomes were in jeopardy — and that the impact was too great on their limited family budgets.
Democrats found the cuts relating to our safety net dangerous and harmful to Maine’s most vulnerable.
Democrats found the tax package to be unfair and irresponsible – and worse, bad for Maine’s economy and our cities and towns.
However, the bipartisan vote in support of the budget shows how far we’ve come.
It demonstrates that if we honor and respect the process, we can come to agreement.
While neither the Democrats nor Republicans would say this budget was perfect. Or, even that we got everything we wanted — it is a true compromise.
After hours and weeks of public hearings, when Maine people came from every corner of the state to express the impact they feared from the initial proposals, we were able to address many of their concerns.
Ultimately, Democratic values were imprinted on this budget.
We fought to keep the state’s promises to public employees and retirees.
We fought to preserve health care that had been threatened for 28,000 Maine people.
We fought to protect the elderly and disabled.
We fought to make the tax cuts more fair and targeted to Maine families and businesses.
Our current and retired public sector employees deserve our thanks and gratitude, and I am pleased that most of the harmful proposals to their pensions and healthcare were removed from the budget. Democrats pushed to do even more to protect the retirement of our public workers right until the end.
This session was different for Democrats in many ways, but what this budget vote demonstrates is that despite political changes, we can find agreement. When the process is consistent, and the process is respected, compromise is possible.
Now, it’s up to the governor to sign the budget. As I record this address, it remains unsigned.
While it’s hard to understand the delay, we hope he will stand on the right side of Maine people and in support of the collaborative work of Republicans and Democrats in the legislature.
The best work we do, we do together. I am honored to be a part of this kind of process.
Thank you for listening. I’m Democratic State Rep. Emily Cain of Orono.