Opinion: Maine’s leaders must make the most out of historic surplus


When a state’s budget fully invests in its people and communities, everyone benefits. Today, Maine has a surplus and policymakers have an opportunity to improve people’s lives, get our economy back on track, and help the workers, families, and small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maine legislature’s budget committee is set to begin assessing Governor Janet Mills’ proposal to spend the state’s projected surplus revenues, which recently grew even larger. The plan includes routine initiatives such as maintaining Maine’s commitment to funding 55% of K-12 education costs and some innovative investments in workers including free community college for high school graduates and wage subsidies for childcare workers — as well as spending half the surplus on a payment to 80% of Maine taxpayers.

Click here to read the full op-ed by MECEP director of policy and research Sarah Austin, first published March 2, 2022, in Beacon.