AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) applauds the governor’s proposed additional funding for behavioral health services as a step toward addressing unmet needs left out of the original budget proposal. Sarah Austin, MECEP director of policy and research, said: “The governor’s change package commits more than half the surplus to direct payments, which comes at a cost to other unmet needs facing Maine communities and families. MECEP applauds key members of the Taxation Committee who endorse narrowing the direct payments to households with greater need, and support the Committee at large for unanimously moving to double the state earned income tax credit and boost the property tax fairness credit in their votes Wednesday on the governor’s initial budget proposal. Together, these proposals increase incomes for families with low and moderate incomes by hundreds of dollars each year yet cost less than the one-time payments the governor has proposed. We look forward to working with legislators to protect funding for behavioral health services and refine the governor’s payment proposal so that Mainers in need are supported through cash assistance and that other critical needs — such as affordable housing and health care — are addressed with available revenues.” The Taxation Committee’s budget report is available here.
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