Augusta (June 23, 2017) — Last night House Republicans presented a budget proposal to the Committee of Conference twenty days after initial proposals passed out of the Appropriations Committee. Their proposal prioritizes tax cuts for the rich over fully funding education, resources to local communities, programs for new Mainers, state employee jobs, and property tax relief.
The House Republican proposal falls nearly $200 million short of the additional school resources raised by the voter approved 3% surcharge on households over income above $200,000. Their proposal also fails to replace the surcharge with new revenue that could sustain education funding in future years.
Sarah Austin, policy analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, stated, “Maine voters approved a sustainable source of revenue that put full funding of education firmly within the reach of this and future legislatures. For House Republicans to put forward a proposal that eliminates this funding for schools to give tax cuts to the rich, makes up for only 40% of the lost revenue to schools, and takes from new Mainers and local towns to do so is plain wrong.”
The state is just eight days away from a potential state shutdown if a budget isn’t enacted on June 30th. “There is no question that a state shutdown would be devastating for Maine’s economy, especially in peak tourism season. However, a harmful budget that overturns the will of Maine people to give tax cuts to the rich is also bad for Maine.” said Sarah Austin. “Mainers should not be forced to choose between two bad options. As the caucuses work to bring their proposals closer together, lawmakers should work toward agreements that prioritize Maine people, schools, and communities over tax breaks for the richest 2%.”
“Maine’s economy needs young families, good schools, and new Mainers to be successful in the future. Pitting these priorities against one another to give tax cuts to the rich is a false choice and failed prescription for economic growth.” said Garrett Martin, executive director, MECEP. “Let Kansas be a lesson to Maine that tax breaks for the wealthy cannot be prioritized over schools and critical state services to Maine people if we want to build a thriving economy.”
Select details of House Republican proposal:
[pdf-embedder url=”https://www.mecep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GOP-budget-proposal-6-23-2017.pdf” title=”GOP budget proposal 6-23-2017″]