For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - Governor LePage today announced that he has ordered a $35.5 million curtailment of state spending through the remainder of the fiscal year in order to align spending with lower-than-expected revenues. House Republican leadership maintains the same position they held when curtailment was originally proposed by the governor.
House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) and Assistant Leader Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton) see curtailment as a necessary and decisive move by the governor to bring the budget into balance until the Legislature can craft a supplemental budget that makes more targeted cuts to state spending through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in July.
Rep. Fredette noted that the longer revenues are not aligned with spending, the deeper the cuts must be in the upcoming supplemental budget. "We have to be fiscally responsible," he said, "and what the governor has done is the fiscally responsible thing to do. We can't spend more money than we take in."
"There is no doubt that these temporary cuts will be painful," Fredette continued, "but I have confidence that the Appropriations Committee will deal with these tough choices in a bipartisan and responsible way."
Rep. Willette added that Republican legislators have their work cut out for them in the upcoming budgeting process. "Maine has the second largest welfare system in the country, so there's room to cut spending without hurting our most vulnerable or raising taxes on working people," said Willette.
Reps. Fredette and Willette, along with Democratic and Senate Republican leadership, met with the governor's chief budget officer, Commissioner Sawin Millett, two weeks ago today to discuss curtailment and supplemental budget options.
The Governor's Office sent legislative leadership an advance copy of the curtailment order and the governor's staff has been in close contact in recent days with legislative staff regarding the timing and general contents of the order. Additionally, Commissioner Millett briefed legislative leadership and Appropriations Committee members from both parties on the finalized order earlier this afternoon.
The Legislature will reconvene on January 8 and will begin work on a supplemental as well as a biennial budget.
[Note: Please see attached audio files for use in your radio or television news stories.]
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793