Statements from Governor Mills and Commissioner Keliher on Amendment to LD 2225

Below are statements from Governor Mills and Commissioner Keliher on the latest amendment to LD 2225. LD 2225 would provide funding for municipal, state or regionally significant infrastructure adaptation, repair and improvements that support public safety, protection of essential community assets, regional economic needs and long-term infrastructure resiliency. However, this bill has been amended by the Senate to add more than $100 million in completely unrelated spending. The Governor and the Commissioner are calling for a clean bill.

“This is another 11th hour, multimillion-dollar amendment crafted outside of the budget process, behind closed doors, without public input, and without the consultation of me, the Speaker of the House, or my Administration. It entangles more than $100 million of unrelated, ongoing spending with my storm relief bill, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid when I introduced it as a standalone bill months ago,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Worse, the amendment will blow a hole in the state budget and force lawmakers next year to cut vital programs – like 55 percent of education. We need to get serious. Time is running out for the legislative session. The Legislature needs to pass a clean storm relief bill and pass the supplemental budget approved by the Appropriations Committee yesterday.”

“While the Senate is playing politics with the Governor’s bill to rebuild Maine’s devastated coastal infrastructure, it is Maine fishermen, seafood dealers, aquaculturists, coastal towns, and dock owners who are paying the price and struggling to stay above water. The damage from this winter’s storms has put them at enormous economic risk and this amendment only adds last-minute, unrelated spending that should be addressed elsewhere. This is exactly the type of move that fishermen hate from politicians,” said Pat Keliher, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “The Legislature should pass the Governor’s bill clean with strong support. Without it, the struggle gets harder, the people in our coastal communities become more discouraged and desperate, and the livelihoods and wellbeing of tens of thousands of Mainers are jeopardized.”