(AUGUSTA, ME) – Only twice in at least the last half-century have legislative members of a Maine political party forced a budget through without the input of the other party. The current Democrats in the State Legislature have now done this twice in four months, locking Republicans and their constituents out of the budget process in which more than $9 billion was spent.
Senate Republicans are disappointed that Democrats chose to abandon the bipartisan agreements worked out as recently as last week and rather pushed through their own plan to spend another billion dollars. By again refusing to sit down with Republicans they have forced a partisan vote and a 90-day delay in the availability of federal funds against the wishes of Republicans and Governor Mills.
At the last minute and after an agreement had been reached, Democrats introduced dozens of new spending items. Chief among these was a requirement that tens of millions of dollars in housing construction contracts be directed toward Democrat-supporting labor unions rather than awarded to the most qualified contractors who provide the lowest bid.
As this session wound down, Republicans did help to sustain several vetoed bills that would not have benefited Maine people had they become law. We insisted on and achieved a tax benefit for working Mainers in the form of $150 million in refunds sent directly back to the people who remained on the job during the pandemic.
Barring another special session, the Legislature will convene again in January.
# # #