State government cannot be all things to all people all the time. Nor can it solve all the problems or address all the needs of the people of the state. But during emergencies such as the current pandemic, the people need to depend on us in state government to protect children, to secure health care, to safeguard educational and vocational opportunities and protect the most vulnerable of our citizens.
Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills.
At the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, we responded with fiscal pragmatism to immediately stabilize the state budget and to curtail spending.
I am pleased to report that those fiscally responsible steps, combined with federal coronavirus relief funds, will allow us to fulfil our remaining commitments for this fiscal year and to carry over resources to cover the shortfall in the upcoming biennium.
In light of these developments, this week I have presented a balanced supplemental budget for the current fiscal year and a balanced biennial budget proposal to the Legislature to maintain the critical services that we restored in the last biennium and to bolster our response to the still raging pandemic, while tightening our belts and maximizing savings.
These budgets balance any increases in departmental spending with reductions elsewhere, while avoiding layoffs and ensuring vital services.
The proposals do not change tax rates and they don’t create new programs. They not only preserve the State’s Budget Stabilization Fund or Rainy Day Fund, but bring it to a record high level to maintain the state’s solid financial footing and allow us to be prepared for any financial crises.
You can read the details of my proposals at maine.gov/governor/mills
I take seriously my obligation to be a responsible steward of taxpayers' dollars. But I am also not going to walk away from Maine families in their time of greatest need.
For almost a year, teachers and school staff have shepherded our children through hybrid, remote and in person classes while protecting their health and safety; health care clinicians have worked around the clock to test and treat Maine people for a new and deadly disease; long term care providers and direct care workers have risked their own health to take care of older Mainers and those with disabilities; children have learned and parents have worked remotely to keep themselves and others safe; and families have struggled to survive job losses and losses of income caused by a pandemic not of their making.
With the pandemic still raging, we can't and won’t abandon these people now. We need to keep the ship of state steady as we weather this storm.
These budgets are a blueprint for common sense, compassion, and community during our time of greatest need.
They hold onto the vision of Maine as the safest, healthiest, and most beautiful state in the nation.
May it be so.
This is Governor Janet Mills.
Thank you for listening.