Governor Mills: There is no reason we can’t come together to pass more direct relief for Maine people.

December 3, 2021

Throughout my time in office, my Administration has responsibly managed Maine’s finances. At the beginning of the pandemic, we immediately reduced spending, issued curtailment orders, and saved money to protect our state budget, and, now it’s paying off.

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

Just last week, Maine’s nonpartisan Revenue Forecasting Committee upgraded our revenue forecast by $822 million over the next few years – $822 million — that’s an increase of almost 10 percent over their previous projections.

This new forecast is a reflection of the fact that Maine’s Gross Domestic Product or GDP, an important measure of our economic health, has not only fully recovered from the pandemic, but has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

And, we have savings in the bank. Money in the bank. Under my tenure, we have doubled the Rainy Day Fund to historic levels.

All of these factors are a testament to the success of good fiscal management and careful expenditures of federal and state pandemic relief that Maine has received.

But that doesn’t mean we are without challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused things like the cost of electricity, driven by gas-fired generation, home heating fuel, gas at the pump, and other necessities, much of them related to the price of fossil fuels, all to go up and that’s putting a real strain on the budgets of Maine families. This is the worst time of year for costs to go up of course, as we’re trying to heat our homes through the winter months.

In the coming weeks, my administration will be putting together a supplemental budget to adjust our state spending and I will be proposing ways to use this additional state revenue to provide direct financial relief to folks who are hard hit by these increases to help them through these difficult times.

I am open to ideas from Republicans and Democrats and Independents in the Legislature on the best ways to help hardworking Maine people, giving the money back to them, and I hope that we can have a constructive legislative session starting in January to do just that.

We’ve already done it before, in the bipartisan biennial budget which is in place for this fiscal year, for instance.

That budget increased relief for families with children, for small businesses, for teachers, middle class homeowners, and renters; why we fully funded public education for the first time in history; we nearly doubled revenue sharing to every town and city in Maine to help with property tax relief; and we sent checks to people who worked throughout the pandemic, checks that are just now arriving in mailboxes this month.

There is no reason we can’t come together again soon to pass more direct relief for Maine people in the coming months. Giving the money back to you.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.