This afternoon and evening the Appropriations Committee held an offsite public hearing on the Governor’s biennial budget. Over 200 members of the public, state employees, retirees and municipal officials packed a meeting roommate Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.
Town officials testified about the impact that the Governor’s proposals would have on their residents. Many of those testifying urged the Legislature to find additional revenue or to repeal or delay recently enacted tax cuts. Recommendations include increased sales tax, meals and lodging tax as well as repeal of tax breaks, the release of authorized bonds, a 30% temporary cut to Revenue Sharing and asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.
Several town officials testified that they were motivated to attend this meeting and be heard after receiving letters from the Governor in response to their concerns. The letters asked that the writers present the Governor with “serious” solutions or consolidate with neighboring towns.
Dozens noted their appreciation that the Legislature took the time to hold a hearing outside of Augusta.
Tuesday, March 26 the Appropriations committee will be joined by the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry committee. You can find committee documents for Tuesday’s hearing here.
Please join the committees in Room 228 if you are able. You can listen in here.
Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions.
News release from Hearing
Public turns out to oppose LePage budget in Brewer
Brewer—State lawmakers on the budget-writing committee heard strong opposition to Governor Paul LePage’s budget today during a public hearing in Brewer. Municipal officials across the state have said LePage’s proposal will hike property taxes, result in local job losses, and cuts to town police and firefighters.
More than 200 people packed the hearing room at Jeff’s Catering and Event Center in Brewer, with nearly all of them testifying against LePage’s cuts to municipal aid, tax credits for seniors, middle class families, businesses, and funds to local schools.
“We heard strong opposition today against the Governor’s proposed cuts,” said Senator Emily Cain, D-Orono, a member of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “The room was packed and one person after another told lawmakers that these cuts would hurt our economy, squeeze families and seniors, local businesses and schools.”
If LePage’s budget passes, Brewer will lose $1.3 million, according to the Maine Municipal Association.
The LePage budget shifts more than $400 million of the tax burden to local communities and their property taxpayers. Public opposition to LePage’s budget has been mounting after two weeks of public hearings. Forty-two Maine towns have signed resolutions opposing LePage’s proposal.
“People are upset and angry about the Governor’s unfair proposal,” said Rep. Aaron Frey, D-Bangor. “Week after week we hear that Maine people want alternatives — they don’t want the budget balanced on the backs of working families, seniors, and small business owners. This will only undercut Maine’s already struggling economy.”
Several town officials who testified cited LePage’s opposition to similar cuts when he was mayor in the city’s resolution.