AUGUSTA – In Augusta the state budget battle continues. Legislators remain optimistic that nearly $7 billion will get approved in time to avoid a state government shutdown.
Despite working through the weekend, legislators remain divided. And, the big hurdle remains education spending and funding.
Last week, democrats proposed lowering the tax surcharge funding education to 1.75 percent, while raising the income level before that surcharge would be applied.
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said “We also suggested some other ways that we could fund education. We’re not married to any of those ideas. What we were trying to do was jump start a conversation that we thought was long overdue.”
Republicans believe the entire surcharge needs to be repealed, while still funding education at an unprecedented level.
Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, added “Republicans feel pretty strongly that we have again been able to find the resources to have the largest increase in our state’s history, without increasing the tax burden on Mainers.”
Deadlines are rapidly approaching.
The long-term deadline, June 30th. It’s not that far away now. The short-term deadline, Friday. That allows the legislature to enact a budget and give the governor the statutory 10 days where he decides to either sign budget or veto it. It also gives the legislature time to override any potential veto.