A Balanced, Realistic Biennial Budget Proposal

This week, I submitted my proposed budget for the next two years to the Maine State Legislature.

It’s often said that a budget is a statement of values – and that’s why my budget includes meaningful investments in the things that Maine people rely on every day – education, housing, health care, our roads and bridges, and much more.

The Budget proposes these investments without raising taxes, while living within our means, based on projected revenues, and while protecting us against the possibility of a recession. 

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening. 

During the last Legislative session, and in our last two-year budget, we accomplished a great deal. From achieving 55 percent of the cost of education for the first time in Maine history, to fully restoring municipal revenue sharing, to enacting free community college, to overhauling our student debt relief program and providing significant tax relief, providing free school meals, delivering the strongest inflation relief measure in the country – we made incredible bipartisan progress on issues critical to the people of Maine. 

All of that work – and all of these achievements – became the foundation of my next budget proposal. 

I believe that if we want to build a stronger, more prosperous state where opportunity is available to all, then we must invest in the infrastructure that supports our greatest asset: the people of Maine. 

And because the success of Maine children is so vital to our future, education is at the heart of this budget. My proposal once again meets the state’s obligation to pay 55 percent of the cost of education – as the people of Maine directed us to do years ago. 

It also again fully funds free school meals because no child can learn on an empty stomach. 

It continues the expansion of Pre-K across Maine so that kids may have a safe place to learn and grow as their parents go to work during the day; and we continue – for another two years – my free community college initiative, which has resulted in record enrollment at the Maine Community College System.

My budget also takes on Maine’s housing crunch, dedicating $30 million to continue building more housing so that working people have a safe and affordable place to live and to raise their families here in Maine. 

The budget invests in health care and childcare.  It includes an historic $237 million to support mental health and substance use disorder services, and $7 million for prevention, treatment and recovery services for substance use disorder and behavioral health for children. 

Finally, my budget includes historic investments in Maine’s roads and bridges. In 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which makes available more Federal funding for infrastructure projects. This funding often requires a matching contribution from the state and that’s why my budget includes $400 million to help the Maine Department of Transportation leverage as much federal funding as we can to improve our roads and bridges that are in such dire need of repair.

My budget proposal is balanced. It is realistic. It is based solely on projected state revenues, and it does not raise taxes. It leaves the Rainy Day Fund untouched at its record-high of more than $900 million so that the state is protected against an economic downturn.

I look forward to working with the new Legislature as they consider this proposal, and as we continue to work together to make progress on the issues that Maine people have asked us to address. 

This is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.