Bipartisan, Responsible Budget Receives Two-Thirds Support
The governor's proposed budget was a $400 million tax shift onto our towns, the middle class, and homeowners. After months of hard work and compromise, the Appropriations Committee unanimously recommended a bipartisan budget that reduced many of the harmful effects of the governor's budget. This budget was passed by two-thirds of lawmakers in both the House and the Senate. This budget:
Restores nearly two-thirds of the cuts to municipal revenue sharing
Maintains property tax relief programs that help people stay in their homes
Restores funding to programs that help the elderly pay for the medicine
Increases funding to public education, and provides a path for the state to fulfill its commitment to fund education at the 55% level
Closes corporate tax loopholes
Temporarily increases the sales tax by half a penny, and increases the meals and lodging tax by one percent, or $2 for a $200 hotel room. Both of these measures end on June 30, 2015
This budget is not perfect, but in a divided government, compromise is necessary.
Unfortunately, the governor does not believe in compromise. Because he did not get his way, he has continued to threaten to veto this budget.
This is yet another example of the governor single-handedly standing in the way of progress for Maine. As the Bangor Daily News said in their editorial, a vote against the budget is a vote for a state shutdown. The governor has chosen to shut down our state rather than compromise.
That is not how you run a business, and it is certainly not how you run a state. This is not leadership
Please call the governor's office at 287-3531 and tell the governor you support this bipartisan, responsible budget and it is irresponsible of him not to sign it.
Governor Vetoes Omnibus Energy Bill
As you may remember, in January, Democrats laid out our legislative priorities for the session . We made remarkable progress, and even finished the session on time.
One of our greatest accomplishments is a bipartisan, comprehensive energy bill to lower energy costs for homes and businesses. The bill will fund energy efficiency projects by increasing funding for Efficiency Maine, and provide rate-relief for Maine businesses. The bill will also reform the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to lower global warming pollution limits from power plants across the Northeast by 45 percent.
Despite the support for the bill from Democrats, Republicans, industry, and environmentalists, at 11:55 p.m., four minutes before his veto power expired, the governor vetoed the bill, saying he would not support the bill until legislators amended an unrelated bill to include a provision that would have undermined the Ocean Energy Act and blocked $120 million of off-shore wind power investment by Statoil in Maine.
The governor is holding up progress on a historic, bipartisan energy bill because he doesn't like wind power.
Fortunately, the House overrode his veto in a staggering 121-11 vote. The bill originally passed the Senate 28-7, and we will vote on the veto on Wednesday. It is my hope that my Republican colleagues will stand by their votes and refuse to allow the governor to halt progress.
Bonds Still Held Hostage
For four months, Democrats have called on the governor to release the millions of dollars in voter approved bonds. The projects stalled by the governor's hijacking of the bonds include those in areas like transportation, higher education, construction, and clean water improvements. In some cases, the projects could make use of a 5-to-1 federal match. The governor admitted he was holding the bonds hostage until the hospitals were repaid.
We have now paid our debt to the hospitals, yet the governor has still not released the bonds.
With the stroke of his pen, the governor could create jobs, begin repairing Maine's crumbling infrastructure, and inject millions of dollars of needed investment into our economy. Once again, one man is standing in the way of progress for our state.
Please call the governor's office at 287-3531, and ask him to release the bonds.
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