AUGUSTA, Maine — MECEP executive director Garrett Martin released the following statement about the budget framework released today at noon by Gov. Janet Mills:
“COVID has exposed and exacerbated inequality in Maine’s economy: While wealthier households withstood the pandemic recession and even prospered during the crisis, many Mainers — particularly women and people of color — are facing hardship in the form of unemployment, hunger and housing insecurity.
“For an equitable recovery, it’s critical that state spending keep pace with Mainers’ needs. In times of crisis, Mainers cannot afford austerity. By protecting jobs and core government services, Gov. Mills’ budget proposal would prevent additional layoffs and avoid increased hardship. It is a strong foundation upon which lawmakers can build.
“We know a decade of lopsided tax cuts have fueled inequality by boosting the wealth of high-income households and profitable corporations at great cost to working families.
“To reduce hardship, reverse inequality, and fuel shared prosperity, Maine must get more money flowing to families and communities. By asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share, the Legislature can put that money to work for Mainers by increasing funding for education, health care, social support programs, and infrastructure.
“Maine must set its sights higher than a pre-pandemic baseline in which wealthy households prospered while schools went underfunded and communities and families lacked the resources they needed to truly thrive. MECEP looks forward to working with lawmakers and the administration on policies to not only address current budget needs, but to reverse inequality and build a stronger, fairer economy for years to come.”
MECEP analysts will review the governor’s budget proposal in greater detail after the legislative text is published later today. Experts are available for comment to journalists covering the state budget in the coming days.