Pragmatic pandemic budget: No brand-new programs, tax rates steady – Associated Press

8January 2021

PORTLAND, Maine (AP)– Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ propositions for supporting the current spending plan and assisting spending over the next 2 years reflect a practical approach that holds taxes steady and uses no brand-new programs, she stated Friday.

Her two-year, $8.4 billion proposal is almost flat– it would increase costs by 0.7%– while reserving $61 million for the rainy day fund in the event of future financial crises connected to the pandemic.

“There’s no drama here,” the guv insisted to press reporters throughout an online rundown from Augusta.

Regardless of a $650 million shortfall, the state prepares to end the year in the black thanks to $7.6 billion in federal help, better-than-expected state profits and the governor’s curtailments to the tune of $222 million, she stated. Medicaid growth settled by making sure an additional 70,000 Mainers had health care throughout the pandemic, she added.

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Moving forward, the spending plan will still be driven by the pandemic, which shuttered businesses, left 10s of thousands of Mainers out of work, and claimed more than 400 lives throughout the state.

“State government can not be all things to all people all the time. Nor can it resolve all issues or address all requirements of all the people of the state. However throughout emergencies such as the present pandemic, the people require to depend upon us to secure their children, to protect their health care, to protect instructional and occupation opportunity and to safeguard our most vulnerable residents,” she said.

Among the two-year budget plan proposal highlights:

— An extra $5 million would go to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Avoidance for testing, vaccines and support services this year and an another $3 million would go to the Maine CDC over the next two years.

— There would be $45 million for MaineCare rate increases for assisted living home and facilities for children and older Mainers; $6 million for adults with developmental specials needs; and $7.5 million for psychological health and compound use condition services.

— Schools would receive $45 million to make progress toward a minimum instructor income of $40,000 and to help them handle remote knowing and other programs during the pandemic.

The proposal got a beneficial reception from leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

“Mainers are facing enormous obstacles and there is no doubt the work ahead of us is challenging, however I’m confident we’ll pass a commonsense proposal that satisfies the requirements of Mainers across the state,” stated Home Speaker Ryan Fecteau, a Democrat.

Senate President Troy Jackson, also a Democrat, stated the guv’s proposal will direct the debate in coming weeks.

“Our work is simply getting going. Next, the Legislature’s budget plan committee will start to dig into the document and give Mainers all throughout the state the chance to weigh in,” he said.Source: apnews.com

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