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For Immediate Release

Date: 01/11/13

Governor's Biennial Budget Proposal Sets Tone of Fiscal Responsibility


Offers blueprint for smaller government, welfare reform, low tax burdens on Maine families

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage today presented a biennial and a supplemental budget that will be taken up by the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. In the face of cost overruns at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Governor drafted a budget for the Legislature's consideration that pays Maine's bills and brings fiscal conservatism to state government.

"This budget gives us a blueprint for a right-sized government," said House Republican Leader Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "It sets us in the right direction by keeping the tax burden on Maine families low while paying our bills and reforming our overly generous welfare system."

The fiscal cliff deal passed in Congress earlier this month raised taxes by $1,000 on middle class Maine households, further emphasizing the importance of keeping Maine's tax burden low. "In the face of federal tax increases, we must pay our bills within our existing revenue and not increase taxes on working Mainers," continued Fredette.

Despite a recent shortfall, Maine's tax revenue is robust compared to other states. The state's tax burden as a percentage of personal income ranks seventh in the nation. Meanwhile, Maine's welfare spending as a percentage of overall state spending ranks second.

"The budget reflects that we have a spending problem in Maine," said Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton). "Mainers are taxed enough already, and we cannot ask them to shoulder a greater burden to support Maine's loose welfare system."

The budget re-prioritizes state spending, trimming Maine's welfare system while preserving funding for education and law enforcement. It increases funding for foster care and improves mental health services, taking 1,100 people off the wait list, while eliminating state-funded cash welfare for non-citizens and decreasing revenue sharing to municipal governments.

"The Governor's proposal addresses the reality that we must preserve programs for Maine's most needy without raising taxes on working Mainers," added Fredette.

The biennial and supplemental budget bills will be referred to the Appropriations Committee next week.

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David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793