AUGUSTA – On Thursday, the Maine Legislature enacted a continuing services budget. The budget measure — LD 424, “An Act Making Certain Appropriations and Allocations and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government” — goes into law on July 1, 2023.
The continuing services budget provides funding for baseline services, including a full 55% of general-purpose aid for Maine schools, universal school meals, maintains revenue sharing at 5 percent, while also making critical investments in rural hospitals, and long-term care. A full accounting of the budget document can be found here. This proposal does not fund any new programs and reflects the previous biennial budget — adjusted for inflation.
LD 424 represents Part One of the biennial budget. Proposals for Part Two will be heard by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee in the upcoming weeks.
Senate President Troy Jackson released the following statement:
“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.
“But make no mistake, our work is not done. Maine people are counting on the Legislature to address the child care crisis, lower the cost of prescription medication and ensure that rural Mainers can continue to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. I look forward to building on the work we’ve accomplished today and delivering for the people of Maine. I want to thank Senator Rotundo, Senator Duson and Representative Sachs for their extraordinary work on this current services budget.”
Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross released the following statement:
“Maine families and communities are counting on us to deliver the security and stability to plan for the future — and that’s exactly what we have delivered in Part 1 of this biennial budget. Funding continuing services is both a win for Maine families and for responsible state government. It fulfills our promises to Mainers to provide property tax relief, protects and secures the safety net for our most vulnerable, meets our commitments to our state’s municipalities and ensures critical funding for education. Ultimately, this proposal makes significant investments in the programs and services Mainers rely upon.
“Additionally, this two-part budget removes the political gamesmanship from ongoing discussions regarding new spending. It allows lawmakers to have the time and space needed to answer the essential question of what more can we do to ensure we are meeting the needs of all Maine families. Senator Rotundo, Representative Sachs and their colleagues on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee will continue this bipartisan discussion in the upcoming weeks and months with the input of the full Legislature, stakeholders and the public.”
Senator Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston released the following statement:
“Tonight, the Maine Legislature passed a commonsense current services budget that keeps the lights on and takes the risk of a government shutdown off the table. It honors the state’s commitments to Maine families, community and economy. It allows our schools and municipalities to budget effectively, and it delivers more than $250 million in tax relief. Now, we can focus our efforts on crafting a thoughtful Part II Budget — one that considers any and all new initiatives put forward by Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
“Much like how a family prioritizes mortgages, car payments and groceries, the Maine Legislature has a responsibility to prioritize necessities and recurring bills before we can begin having a conversation about what to do with the funds left over. There seems to be agreement on both sides of the aisles that we should explore ways to improve the lives hardworking Mainers. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee to dig into these new initiatives and reach a consensus on a Part II budget.”
Representative Melanie Sachs of Freeport released the following statement:
“Part I of our biennial budget strengthens Maine’s economy, while working within existing resources. Beyond efficient governance, Part I of our biennial budget continues critical investments in education, behavioral health care, substance use disorder treatment, property tax relief and investments in our childcare workforce. It fulfills our promises to Mainers to meet our commitments to our state’s municipalities, ensures critical funding for long-term care facilities and continues much needed investments in mitigating climate change. Ultimately, it builds upon the good, bipartisan work that has been accomplished this session and last, and continues our history of responsible, fiscal management of the State’s resources. There is much more work ahead and we’re ready to stay at the table to keep making progress for Maine people.”
- Maintains municipal revenue sharing at 5 percent.
- Helps more Mainers stay in their homes by maintaining the Property Tax Fairness Credit and Homestead Exemption Programs at current levels.
- Keeps the state’s commitment to Maine schools, municipalities and teachers by funding 55 percent of K-12 public education costs.
- Keeps free breakfast and lunch available to all students.
- Bolsters the state’s child care workforce by maintaining salary supplements for early childhood educators.
- Ensures there are no gaps in coverage for MaineCare recipients, including for children’s health care, prenatal care and postpartum care.
- Ensures Mainers have access to services for intellectual disabilities and behavioral health services.
- Maintains funding for long-term care facilities and nursing facilities.
- Provides tuition assistance to Maine veterans.
- Continues medical and substance use disorder treatment for corrections facilities.