t’s hard to overstate what this budget will mean for working-class families. It is a budget that answers the call of the moment and delivers for parents on child care, paid family and medical leave, and the dependent tax credit, making it just a little easier for folks to make ends meet. It will give those of us who live in rural areas peace of mind knowing that when we call 9-1-1, we can count on emergency medical services professionals to show up in our hour of need.
Our job as elected officials is to represent the people who have placed their faith and trust and fight for their best interests. That is not something I take lightly. For me, this responsible baseline budget is about keeping our promise to Maine people — a promise to fund rural hospitals, a promise to fully fund our schools, a promise to make sure no child has to learn on an empty stomach and a promise to provide meaningful property tax relief. These are initiatives are foundational to the health, well-being, and success of Maine’s people and economy. Tonight, the Legislature followed through on that promise.
A Legislative update from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, hit mailboxes through earlier this week. This year, Pres. Jackson championed measures to provide access to lifesaving insulin, deliver property tax relief, expand access to quality child care and ban corporate contributions to political candidates. Check out the newsletter to learn more!
With more ways to participate in the Maine Legislature than ever before, Mainers set the legislative agenda this session, not special interests, political hacks or lobbyists. It’s how we were able to translate the stories we heard from constituents throughout the pandemic into legislative action, passing laws to rein in outrageous health care costs, provide meaningful property tax relief, honor our veterans and support survivors of domestic violence. That is how the legislative process should be.
Today, Maine Senate Democrats voted in favor of a historic investment in Maine businesses and working families who experienced profound hardship and extraordinary tragedy throughout this pandemic. It will lift up the farmers and fishermen who have suffered greatly after the demand for local foods disappeared overnight when restaurants had to close their dining rooms, while also boosting small businesses all across the state. It will help Maine seniors and individuals with disabilities afford to stay in their homes while supporting family caregivers and working to build a robust direct care workforce. And, it will make long-overdue investments in our career technical education and workforce training programs, while also working to close gaps in our health care workforce and system.
Today, the Maine Legislature sent a strong, bipartisan budget to the governor’s desk that makes good on long-standing promises and obligations to the people of the state of Maine. It funds 55 percent of education funding for the first time since voters mandated it more than a decade ago, it prioritizes property tax relief for Maine families and seniors so they can afford to stay in their homes and in our communities, and returns $150 million to more than 500,000 extraordinary workers who showed up time and time again throughout the pandemic. After a year of uncertainty and hardship, this is the type of budget Maine families, communities and small businesses deserve. I’m so grateful to my colleagues on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee for putting aside partisanship and making this happen.
The reality is that Maine’s budget is a statement about what we value. With the funding measures passed by the AFA Committee today, we say loud and clear that the Maine Legislature supports our public schools, students, teachers and hardworking property taxpayers. Maine voters have told us in no uncertain terms that the state needs to be doing its part to take care of our schools and help local government. It’s high time we kept that promise.
AUGUSTA – On Wednesday, the Maine Senate unanimously approved a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, that would increase property tax relief for Maine veterans. LD 576, “An Act To Increase Property Tax Relief for Veterans” increases the exemption amount from $6,000 to $10,000 for eligible Maine veterans. “This past weekend, Mainers all across the state paid […]
Maine people have faced a year of unprecedented pain and extraordinary hardship. The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, but especially our kids. It’s why I’m thrilled that after years of fighting to fund public education and honor the will of Maine voters, the state is finally on track to meet the 55 percent threshold for K-12 public education funding. For me, this about doing right by our kids and their incredible teachers. This historic investment has been 17 years in the making and been approved twice at the ballot box. I’m so proud of my colleagues for never backing down, fighting for our kids and making good on that commitment.
Maine towns and cities have been hit hard by the pandemic. I’ve heard from local officials all across northern Aroostook County about the never-ending challenges of this past year. With hope on the horizon as more Mainers get vaccinated and cases stabilize, these funds will support our municipalities as they work to rebuild local communities and economies. The Maine Legislature will not stand in the way of local economic recovery. I’m glad we could pass this bill and am hopeful that Maine municipalities will get the funds they need in no time.