AUGUSTA, MAINE — Garrett Martin, executive director at the Maine Center for Economic Policy, released the following statement after the Maine Legislature approved a baseline biennial budget for fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
“By passing a baseline budget that continues current spending levels into the next two years, Maine’s Legislature has protected jobs and services critical to Maine families and our economic recovery. At a time of widespread hardship, economic downturn, and global pandemic, that is no small feat.
“While this budget is an achievement, it’s only half the task at hand. With the core functions of government funded, the Legislature still has much work ahead. First and foremost, they must craft a spending plan to put roughly $1 billion in federal relief funds to work helping struggling families and making economy-boosting investments in Maine’s future.
“The Legislature also has a chance to meet long-unmet needs. Lawmakers are in possession of bills to expand health care for New Mainers, give a sorely needed raise to Maine’s essential direct care workforce, strengthen workers’ rights, and reverse wasteful tax cuts that have left Maine’s schools, communities, and public investments lagging for too long. They also have a chance to craft and pass a bond package to build a stronger economy for years to come.
“MECEP applauds passage of the biennial budget and urges lawmakers to return for a special legislative session immediately to continue the critical work at hand.”