Lawmakers Reject Obstruction, Shutdown
The Maine Senate voted yesterday 25 to 10 to override Gov. LePage’s veto of the state’s $6.7 billion bipartisan budget.
The House overrode the veto earlier earlier with a vote of 109 to 37.
“Today the Legislature remained united and found ways to see beyond our differences,” said Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland. “We have a budget that provides meaningful tax cuts to call Mainers while also investing in our youngest and our oldest, our workers and our retirees.”
The bipartisan budget was supported in the Senate with a vote of 34 to 1 and was passed in the House with a vote of 105 to 42.
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BIPARTISAN BUDGET
- Provides a tax cut for all Mainers–focusing on middle and low income and working families: Reject’s Governor LePage’s unpaid for tax breaks for the wealthy. Provides a fully paid for $135 million tax cut per year for over 500,000 Maine families, with 75 percent of the benefit going to the bottom 90 percent of families. Makes Earned Income Tax Credit refundable up to 5 percent. Nearly doubles the standard deduction to $11,600.
- Bolsters direct property tax relief: Doubles the homestead property tax credit for all Maine families from $10,000 to $20,000.
- Increases investment in Maine students, schools, and teachers through K-12 public education by $80 million.
- Makes college more affordable: Invests $10 million for scholarships to help Maine students and workers pay for college through the Maine State Grant program.
- Invests in higher education: Increases funding by $28 million for the Community College System and University of Maine.
- Invests in job training: Increases funding for the Community College System by $10 million and provides $1 million for job training for workers.
- Provides meaningful welfare reform: Encourages welfare-to-work by eliminating the so-called welfare cliff, which has forced struggling Mainers to lose benefits if they earn even $1 more than the income threshold to receive assistance.
- Funds local police, fire and public works. Rejects the elimination of funding for revenue sharing to cities and towns. Funds 62.5 million per year in revenue sharing to Maine cities and towns.
- Protects seniors and public health: The committee rejected the Governor’s $48 million cut to the Drugs for the Elderly and Medicaid Savings programs, which helps low-income seniors pay for prescription drugs as well cuts to public health dollars in the Fund For Healthy Maine.
- Increases funding for nursing homes by $16 million dollars to $216 million.
- Increases funding by $16.2 million to help clear waitlists for people with intellectual disabilities and brain injuries.
- Supports veterans: Eliminates income tax pension for all military families.
- Bolsters drug enforcement: Funds four new agents for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and allows $200,000 in federal grant money to be used at the MDEA’s discretion to hire additional staff or invest in anti-drug efforts.