AFA Update: Saturday, June 6, 2015- Final votes on budget, scant information on the minority report and statements from Leaders

Tonight the Appropriations committee took final votes on LD 1019, the biennial budget. The vote resulted in two reports, a Majority (9) Ought to Pass as Amended and a Minority (4) Ought to Pass as Amended Members spoke at the end of their deliberations about their continued confidence that the process will yield a budget that will achieve 2/3rd support.

Audio of today’s hearing is here.

Committee amendments offered this evening are here.

Votes taken this evening

Item Motion Dissent
$14M in one-time funding over the biennium in new funding for Nursing Facilities In-Am 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
A permanent extension of current 1% increase in the Meals and Lodging tax raising $68.6M over the two year budget In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
Direct $6M from the Home Fund each year to the General Fund In 11-2 Winsor, Timberlake
$2M/year for the Shelter Operating Subsidy In 8-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
$2M/year to increase the salaries of Direct Care Workers performing Personal Support Services in Secs. 19, 63 & 96 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Winsor, Timberlake
$5M/year to fund the Sec. 21 wait list for services to people with intellectual disabilities In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
The Department of Labor’s request for $1.3M/year to fund the operations of the Employment Security Fund. There are employer funds and Reed Act funds that are a better source for this request. In 12-1 Sanborn
Reconsider the provision of a 4% increase to PNMIs instead providing a 3% increase including a 3% increase for Adult Family Care Homes In-Am 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
Increase the Homestead Property Tax exemption from $10,000 to $15,000 effective April 1, 2016. For the upcoming biennium the state will reimburse municipalities for 100% of the lost revenue, falling to 75% in FY18 (the state is only required to provide 50% reimbursement) In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
Exempt 100% of military pensions up to $25,000 In-Am 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
Sen. Katz amendment to have the District Attorneys in conjunction with the Attorney General propose how  in the future additional Assistant District Attorney’s will be allocated among the prosecutorial districts by September 16, 2015 In
Sen. Hamper’s amendment related to LD 592, providing a sales tax exmeption for fuel sold for the operation of greenhouse facilities larger than 1,000,000 square feet. This sunsets after two years. In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
Direct $1M from the Fund for a Healthy Maine to support lead screenings for 2 years as well as making the Maine standard for child lead exposure consistent with the federal standard In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
From one-time arbitration funds in the Fund for a Healthy Maine provide $575,000 in each year for Head Start and $200,000 for the testing of wells for the presence of arsenic In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake
Rep. Martin’s amendment to create a Public Lands Commission to study land management In 7-6 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Katz, Winsor
Rep. Sirocki’s amendment to require that agencies conduct a review of vacancies and report for action next year In 7-6 Sanborn, Grant, Valentino,
2 years of funding at $75,000 for College for ME Androscoggin, That counties version of the “Bridge” program In 10-3 Nutting, Sirocki, Timberlake
Allow Retirees that lost compensation to furlough days in FY12-13 to purchase that time in order to equalize their retirement benefit- there is no fiscal impact to this approach In
Sen. Hamper’s amendment to create 13 Community Care Worker positions at the Department of Health and Human Services In
Rep. Sanborn’s amendment to create an Affordable Housing Working Group to address the challenges faced by many in achieving affordable, appropriate housing In 7-6 Nutting, Sirocki, Katz, Hamper, Winsor, Timberlake
Rep. Sirocki’s amendment to eliminate Revenue Sharing for municipalities that do not file a report required by LD 1 In 5-7 Sanborn, Valentino, Rotundo, Jorgensen, Frey, Grant, Martin
Exempt excise tax on adaptive equipment on motor vehicles In
Sales tax exemption for non-profit library collaboratives In
Accept $1.4M in unused debt service in FY15 In
Accept $4M in increased federal funding in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHP) In
Require Legislative Council to issue an RFP for the equipment deemed necessary infrastructure for broadcasting legislative sessions and committee hearings In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Appropriate Funds To Help Restore the Historic Wood Island Life Saving Station in Kittery- $200,000 In 9-4 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Provide Funding to the Department of Transportation To Complete the Assessment for the Completion of the State-owned St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad Line- $150,000 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Start a Pilot Program for Medical Substitution Treatment in a Local Community Setting- $41,769 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Provide funds to eliminate the Meals on Wheels Wait List- $75,000 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Implement the Recommendations of the Task Force To End Student Hunger in Maine- $162,097 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Funds to Create Community Schools- $150,000 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Funds to support Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC)- $1,000,000 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Support School Nutrition- $15,700 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Attract Young People to Maine by Expanding the Job Creation Through Educational Opportunity Program- $325,452 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Expand Access to Workforce Development at Brunswick Landing- $410,982 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Put ME to Work- $1,000,000 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Funding to allow the Public Safety/State Police Computer Crime Unit to create a contract with a trained local officer to deal with a backlog of evidence- $44,000 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
Support the reestablishment of the Drug Court in Bangor- $300,000 In 11-2 Timberlake, Winsor
Increase funding for Peer Support Centers- $125,00 In 8-5 Sirocki, Nutting, Hamper, Timberlake, Winsor
$200,000 for the acquisition of the Frances Perkins Homestead in Newcastle, a National Historic Site In 9-4 Nutting, Sirocki, Winsor, Timberlake

Rep. Sirocki read a brief narrative intended to outline the Minority report.

Scant details of the Minority Report:

  • Income tax beginning in FY19 with rates of 0%-6.2%
  • Meals 8%
  • Lodging tax 9%
  • Continuation of the 5.5% sales tax
  • Service Provider tax 6%
  • Prepared food 5.5%
  • Estate and Corporate as proposed by the Governor
  • Homestead as current law
  • Reduce wait lists
  • Cut vacant positions in September
  • General Assistance as proposed by the Governor

Maine Legislature

Speaker’s Office

www.speakereves.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 5, 2015
Contact: Jodi Quintero [Rotundo] 841-6279
Ericka Dodge [Valentino] 232-5892

Panel reaches bipartisan budget deal

Bipartisan budget deal will boost Maine economy; grow good jobs and strong wages

(Augusta) – A bipartisan budget deal reached by Maine lawmakers on Friday night will boost Maine’s economy and help grow good jobs and strong wages at a time when the state lags behind the nation.

“Our bipartisan plan prioritizes property tax relief for everyday Mainers and invests in our students, workers and our economy,”  said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, the House Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “It rejects failed trickle-down economics, and instead focuses on growing the economy from the middle out.”

The $6.6 billion budget rejects Governor LePage’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Mainers, while increasing property tax relief for all Maine families and bolsters investment in public schools, higher education and workforce training.

The bipartisan budget plan would:

  • Bolster direct property tax relief by $27 million. Increases the Homestead property tax exemption from $10,000 to $15,000 for all Maine families.

  • Fund local police, fire and public works. Rejects the elimination of funding for revenue sharing to cities and towns. Keeps current funding levels.

  • Increase investment in Maine students, schools, and teachers through K-12 public education by $50 million.

  • Make college more affordable: Invests $10 million for scholarships to help Maine students and workers pay for college through the Maine State Grant program.

  • Invest in job training: Increases funding for the Community College System by $10 million and provides $1 million for job training for workers.

  • Protect seniors and public health: The committee rejected the Governor’s $48 million cut to the Drugs for the Elderly and Medicare Savings Programs, which helps low-income seniors pay for prescription drugs as well cuts to public health dollars in the Fund For Healthy Maine. It also boosts funding for direct care workers by $4 million.

  • Support veterans: Military retirees will get an additional pension exemption of up to $25,000.

  • Bolster drug enforcement:  Funds four new agents for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and allows $200,000 in federal grant money to be used by the MDEA’s discretion to hire additional staff or invest in anti-drug efforts.

“Even in a challenging political climate, Senate Republicans and House and Senate Democrats stepped up to agree on a budget that invests in creating a strong economic future for our state while taking care of our financial responsibilities today,”  said Democratic State Senator Linda Valentino of Saco, who serves on the state’s Appropriations Committee. “It also addresses one of the biggest challenges facing most Mainers–rising property taxes. We know that in order for our state to compete, we have to invest in our students, workers, and communities.”

Democrats and Senate Republicans also agreed to conform the state’s estate tax exemptions to the federal level of $5.5 million and to send a Constitutional Amendment to voters requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase the income tax rates. The tax cuts in the bipartisan plan are funded by keeping the current meals and lodging tax at eight percent.

The budget now heads to the House and Senate, where it will need to earn two-thirds of the vote to pass and sustain a veto from Gov. LePage.

###

Maine Legislature

Speaker’s Office

www.speakereves.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6, 2015
Contact: Jodi Quintero [Rotundo] 841-6279
Ericka Dodge [Valentino] 232-5892

Democratic Leaders Praise Bipartisan Budget Deal

AUGUSTA — Top Democrats in the Maine House and Senate praised a bipartisan budget deal reached on Friday by House and Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans.

In a vote of 9-4, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee backed a $6.6 billion budget that boosts property tax relief, invests in public schools, higher education and job training for Maine students and workers. The panel rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, while cutting funds to help low income seniors pay for their medicine and other key public health funding.

“The bipartisan budget agreement is a huge win for Maine families and our economy. It prevents a state shutdown and helps everyday Mainers by boosting property tax relief and investing in our students and workers. By investing in our schools, students and workers, we are putting a down payment on Maine’s middle class and helping to write Maine’s comeback story. Maine’s job growth and wages lag behind the nation, and would have only been held back further by the failed trickle down economics proposed by the Governor.”

Democrats and Senate Republicans also agreed to conform the state’s estate tax exemptions to the federal level of $5.5 million and to send a Constitutional Amendment to voters requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase the income tax.

“In divided government, compromise is the only option for getting things done. Senate Republicans, House Democrats, and Senate Democrats have come to an agreement where both sides have made concessions,” said Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland. “If the House Republicans and the Governor choose to shutdown state government, it will be because they insisted on prioritizing tax breaks to the wealthiest. Simply put, they have chosen to sell Maine people ideology rather than a plan that can work.”

In April, Speaker Eves and Senator Alfond announced the Better Deal for Maine plan to counter Gov. Paul LePage’s budget. The Better Deal plan would have taxes for the middle class, lowered property taxes for all Maine homeowners and invested in Maine schools, workers and communities. Under the Better Deal for Maine, 98 percent of income tax cuts go to the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers. Under the Governor’s plan, 50 percent of the tax break goes to the top 10 percent. Republicans and the Governor rejected the plan.

###

Bipartisan Budget Agreement

  • Bolster direct property tax relief by $27 million. Increases the Homestead Property Tax Exemption from $10,000 to $15,000 for all Maine families.

  • Fund local police, fire and public works. Rejects the elimination of funding for revenue sharing to cities and towns.

  • Increase investment in Maine students, schools, and teachers through K-12 public education by $50 million

  • Make college more affordable: Invests $10 million for scholarships to help Maine students and workers pay for college through the Maine State Grant program.

  • Invest in job training: Increases funding for the Community College System by $10 million and provides $1 million for job training for workers.

  • Protect seniors and public health: The committee rejected the Governor’s $48 million cut to the Drugs for the Elderly and Medicaid Savings programs, which helps low-income seniors pay for prescription drugs as well cuts to public health dollars in the Fund For Healthy Maine. It also boosts funding for direct care workers by $4 million.

  • Support veterans: Military retirees will get an additional pension exemption of up to $25,000.

  • Bolster drug enforcement:  Funds four new agents for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and allows $200,000 in federal grant money to be used by the MDEA’s discretion to hire additional staff or invest in anti-drug efforts.

  • Conform Estate Tax to Federal Law: Democrats and Senate Republicans also agreed to conform the state’s estate tax exemptions to the federal level of $5.5 million

  • Send Voters a Constitutional Amendment: Asks voters to approve a Constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase the income tax rates.

  • Keep current lodging and meals tax: Keeps the current meals and lodging tax at eight percent.

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One thought on “AFA Update: Saturday, June 6, 2015- Final votes on budget, scant information on the minority report and statements from Leaders

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