Budget votes

You may have heard the news today that the State budget is working well – we’re ahead of revenue projections by more than $30 million, three months into the fiscal year. Now, the year is long, and that could easily reverse. But I am proud of the budget we are working under. It was a close vote for the emergency enactment, but we made it. Here’s something I published at the time:

At 12:17 this morning the Maine House of Representatives passed the biennial budget by a 105-42 margin and it was confirmed by the Senate 34-1!. The budget added tax cuts for all Mainers, while keeping the sales tax at 5.5%, and increasing the lodging tax to 9% in the second year, which will not directly impact most Mainers. The budget also increased the Homestead Exemption to $15,000 in 2016 and to $20,000 in 2017 which is a great benefit to everyone, but especially to our older folks who still live in their homes. I am very pleased with this because it was the number one issue I heard while going door to door last fall. The budget will reform SNAP, TANF, SSI for legal non-citizens, and removes the top cap on TANF eliminating the so called welfare “cliff” and encouraging work without fear of losing benefits. As a Democrat, I am proud of the House Republican caucus for staying at the table in these negotiations, where there was give and take on both sides resulting in compromise and a bi-partisan budget.

I will keep you informed of budget considerations and further opportunities to take on the issue of property taxes as we head into the next session.