Governor LePage Issues Statement about Ongoing Budget

June 9, 2017

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 09, 2017
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage issued a statement today encouraging Legislators to seek solutions toward a balanced budget that are fiscally responsible and provide income tax relief, limits new spending and focuses on improving education.

“Democrats in the Legislature seem to think they can score political points with the special interests that control them by posturing and threatening to shut down state government unless Republicans agree to bloat government spending by hundreds of millions of dollars. It is irresponsible for Democrats to play Chicken with our state’s finances, and to insist on policies that will harm our economy,” said Governor LePage.

Noting that funding levels for public education is central to the budget negotiations, Governor LePage added, “Since I became Governor, state funding for General Purpose Aid to local schools has increased over $100 million per year. Despite a 12% decline in student enrollment in our schools in the last decade, there has been a 28% increase in state funding and a 27% increase in local spending. Democrats plan to balloon state education spending by $250 to $300 million more in the next budget without ensuring more money reaches the classroom is unworkable. A one year increase of 12-15% in spending while incomes for Mainers are only increasing at 3-4% just doesn’t make sense. That wouldn’t work in a household budget and it doesn’t work in the state budget.”

“I urge Democrats and Republicans to find a fiscally responsible solution that provides income tax relief, limits new spending, and deliver meaningful reform to how Maine funds education so that more money reaches the classroom. Providing incentives for regionalization of administrative functions and programs as well as a pilot for a statewide teacher contract will be key to a successful budget,” said Governor LePage.