STATEWIDE – Gov. Janet Mills presented a two-year $8.3 billion budget to the Legislature Friday, but analysts say there is room for growth.
“We are now in a recession that is very unlike things in 2019,” Tax and Budget Policy Analyst for the Maine Center for Economic Policy Sarah Austin said. “There is a massive pandemic on our hands and huge hardship for Maine families.”
“We are concerned that some of the cost savings that she’s implemented in this budget are only one time fixes and aren’t structural changes to the budget that we believe are necessary given the lasting economic damage that the pandemic and the ensuing response by the governor has created this year,” Policy Analyst for the Maine Policy Institute Nick Murray said.
Austin said this budget proposal is similar to the one in 2019 when times were different.
“That means that this more or less flat funds schools, it takes a little bit out of budgets for higher education facilities, and also, it doesn’t fully fund communities either through revenue sharing,” Austin said. “There’s also room to be increasing investments in public health as well as hunger and workforce response.”
“Maine government can do a lot to reduce dependency for instance, removing adults who have no dependents but who are able bodied and of working age from medicaid expansion,” Murray said.
Murray said the governor did not raise taxes.
“The economy is in such a tough spot. The labor force is in a tough spot right now and many of our industries are,” Murray said. “It’s good that the governor isn’t raising taxes and can prioritize the state’s spending for the folks who most need it.”
Both hope the Legislature will make changes to help the people of Maine.