Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) president and CEO Garrett Martin reacts to Governor Mills’ State of the Budget address:
“State budget choices can change lives. Maine Center for Economic Policy applauds the Mills administration for recognizing the need to invest in Maine people, addressing many of the funding deficits created by her predecessor, and increasing opportunities for education, health care, and housing through her budget.
While the proposed budget lays a solid foundation for Maine people and communities with funding for education, health care, housing, and child care, we encourage lawmakers to build on this foundation by making additional investments needed to address the challenges we face and build an even stronger economy. One viable solution to barriers facing workers and business alike is paid family and medical leave.
Mainers shouldn’t have to choose between spending time with their newborn and paying their rent, or between putting food on the table and caring for their aging parents. A statewide paid family and medical leave policy would solve this problem — and it’s within our capacity and now is the time to do it.
To ensure all Mainers can thrive, lawmakers need to shore up the resources to address pressing needs in good times and bad and do so in a way that is fair to working Mainers and small businesses. Instead of continued calls to cut taxes as some are proposing, lawmakers should hold corporations and households with wealth accountable for paying their fair share.
Lawmakers can stop large corporations from exploiting the state tax code to avoid paying the taxes they owe — leaving everyday Mainers and small businesses to pick up the tab. They can also reign in expensive tax giveaway programs that cost the state millions and don’t help the people who need it most. When corporations and households with wealth pay their fair share in taxes, the result is robust revenue and an opportunity to improve the lives of Mainers.
Lawmakers have a chance to do even more for Maine people and communities and should avoid any effort to compromise our capacity to address critical needs and help Mainers thrive now and in the future.”