AUGUSTA, Maine — Garrett Martin, executive director of Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), released the following statement in reaction to the release of Gov. Janet Mills’ biennial budget proposal:
“Gov. Mills’ budget plan makes progress on investments critical for Maine’s future, particularly in the area of health care. Those investments will improve the well-being of Mainers with low incomes and provide them an on-ramp to the economy.
“However, the budget lacks a solution to the state’s revenue challenges, resulting in a continued inability to make investments necessary for families and communities to thrive. These revenue challenges were caused by tax policies established under Gov. Paul LePage, which resulted in underfunded schools, cuts to local and state services, and an upside-down tax code where the top 1 percent pays less per dollar in state and local taxes than any other group. This budget cycle, the state is missing $864 million because of those tax cuts, which primarily benefit the wealthiest households.
“By maintaining LePage-era tax cuts, this budget does not provide the necessary resources to fully fund education and local services. As budget negotiations unfold in the coming weeks, MECEP will continue to advocate for a real, practical conversation on how to address the revenue challenges created during the LePage years so we can finally make real investments in good schools, good jobs, healthy families and thriving communities.”
BACKGROUND: Last month, Maine Center for Economic Policy released The Prosperity Budget: A Blueprint for Shared Growth and Opportunity. The Prosperity Budget outlines a plan to fully fund Maine’s public schools for the first time ever, expand access to health care and benefits that promote healthy families, and boost the public services and infrastructure that foster economic growth. It raises the revenue necessary to fund those investments with reforms that make Maine’s tax code fairer.