AUGUSTA, MAINE — Garrett Martin, executive director at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, released the following statement about the ‘Back-to-Basics’ budget plan under consideration in the Maine Legislature:
“The ‘Back-to-Basics’ Budget, based on Gov. Janet Mills’ biennial proposal, is a good down payment on Maine’s COVID recovery. Even as revenue shortfalls and increased costs associated with the pandemic have strained our state budget, this approach would protect jobs and services critical to Maine families.
“This plan provides continuity for the core public services that Mainers depend on, especially during moments of crisis, such as schools, local services, health care and social supports for families experiencing hardship. It also provides job security in uncertain times for teachers, firefighters, public health nurses, direct care workers, and others on the front line of Maine’s economy.
“Passing the budget before the end of the month will give the Legislature more time to address other urgent needs. After the budget is settled, Lawmakers must decide how to use roughly $1 billion in federal COVID relief funds to help families, fuel our economic recovery and invest in our future. There are also proposed bills to expand and improve health care, boost wages for Maine’s care workforce, improve workers’ rights, and reform Maine’s tax code to ensure our state has the resources it needs to invest in the long term.
“The debate over those priorities would be improved by the certainty of knowing the core functions of government are settled. MECEP urges lawmakers of both parties to pass the ‘Back-to-Basics’ budget by the end of this month — to make good on Maine’s core commitments to its people and set the stage for a more fruitful policy debate in the months to come.”