House Democratic Office
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE ON FEB. 23
Feb. 22, 2013
REP. FOWLE: BUDGET AND OTHER CHALLENGES REQUIRE BIPARTISAN COOPERATION
Good morning. I am Representative Lori Fowle. Iím honored to represent Vassalboro, Windsor and part of Augusta in the Maine House of Representatives.
I am excited to be part of a large group of first-term legislators in the House. I am new to the State House, but Iíve been active in local government for years. I served on the Vassalboro School Board for nine years and Iím currently on the townís budget committee.
Running for state representative was the logical next step. Iíve seen the kind of budget hits that our towns and schools have taken over the years. I realized that I needed to be in the place where the laws were made Ė not just on the receiving end.
During my campaign, the people of my district told me that they wanted their lawmakers to come together to find commonsense solutions. I imagine thatís what Maine people all around the state expect and want from us.
Iím happy Iíve seen lots of cooperation at the State House. Iíd like to think that the large group of first-term members in the House has something to do with that. New members are finding common ground as we learn and work together.
Weíve been sharing experiences about our bills. I hadnít anticipated how a bill could have a life of its own Ė in a good way. Each needs nurturing and care. In my case, Iíve sponsored a bill to help police locate stolen items sold to pawn shops and another bill to provide disabled veterans with transportation to needed medical appointments. Iím guiding my bills through the process and getting input from stakeholders because I want them to become effective laws.
This week, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved a supplemental budget for current fiscal year. The budget-writing committee had the daunting task of dealing with a $153 million shortfall.
The committee worked hard and reached a unanimous decision on a budget that removed much of the potential harm contained in Governor LePageís proposal -- including cuts to important social service and health programs. Still, the supplemental budget underscores the need for efficiencies, a fair tax system and a balanced approach.
Moving forward, the two-year budget will become an increasing focus at the State House. I know that both Democrats and Republicans are concerned about it.
The governorís proposal relies on a $425 million dollar tax shift to local communities. Iíve seen how difficult it is for local communities to deal with cutbacks, even before they faced the burden of the governorís proposed tax shift.
Last year, Vassalboro property taxes went up an entire mil and the school district seriously considered significantly cutting back the hours of its sole librarian. Thankfully, that did not happen.
The budget has the potential to hurt every district, regardless of whether youíre a Democrat or Republican. We need a budget that will strengthen our economy and our middle class.
Iím hopeful about cooperation between lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. Iím working with other members of the Augusta delegation and look forward to addressing the cityís concerns about the upcoming budget.
You have to work together. Itís that simple.
This is Representative Lori Fowle of Vassalboro. Thank you for tuning in this morning.
Ann Kim | Communications Director
Maine State House Majority Office
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0002
Phone: 207-287-1430 | Cell: 207-233-1838