AUGUSTA – June 20. Maine House Democratic leaders today expressed relief that Gov. Paul LePage signed the state’s two-year $6.1 billion budget after months of tough negotiations and compromise.

“We are glad to see that the governor put politics and ideology aside to sign a budget that took months of tough negotiations by all sides,” Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono. “Democrats strongly opposed the governor’s original budget, but we worked vigorously with Republicans to find a compromise we could support. We understand no compromise is perfect.”

Democratic and Republican lawmakers made significant changes to the governor’s original proposal, rejecting the most devastating cuts to teachers, state employee retirees, and the safety net. Lawmakers lowered taxes by $153 million. The two-year budget also restores the governor’s unpopular plans to cut the Fund for a Healthy Maine and prescription drug coverage for the elderly.

“Five months ago, many said agreement on the budget was impossible,” said Rep. Terry Hayes, the assistant Democratic House leader. “We rejected the most extreme measures of the governor’s original proposal. Democrats fought to keep our state’s promises to public employees, to protect our elderly and most vulnerable, and to support our schools and communities.”

Last week, the budget passed with strong votes in the House by 123-19, and in the Senate by 29-5.

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