For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Earlier in the week, Republican legislative leaders requested a meeting with Democratic legislative leaders and Governor LePage's chief budget officer, Commissioner Sawin Millett of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) to discuss the state's fiscal situation. The meeting was held today at 1:00 p.m. at the State House.
House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) and Senate Republican Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) met with Commissioner Millett, Senate President Justin Alfond, and House Speaker Mark Eves. Millett briefed the lawmakers on a curtailment proposal, items relevant to a future supplemental budget, and the upcoming biennial budget.
"While Commissioner Millett is certainly not the Grinch who stole Christmas, the financial picture looking forward is extremely gloomy," said Rep. Fredette. "Rising energy prices, the prospect of the fiscal cliff, and the status of the Bush tax cuts have created uncertainty which has slowed growth here in Maine and reduced our revenues."
Rep. Fredette emphasized the importance of a fiscally responsible approach to the budget shortfall that also ensures economic growth. His comments come on the heels of yesterday's news of Maine's third consecutive #50 ranking on the Forbes list of best states for business, which cited Maine's high taxes and energy costs as primary reasons for the rank.
"Now is not the time to raise taxes," said Rep. Fredette. "Maine ranks last for economic climate and second for welfare spending. There's more room for spending cuts than tax hikes."
Fredette was pleased with how the meeting went and believes it was a much-needed and productive opportunity for leaders of both parties to get together with the executive branch.
"With all of the politics flying around, I thought it important that we come together and start focusing on the budget problems at hand with the person from the Governor's end who is actually looking at these numbers," added Fredette.
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793