Gov. Mills in radio address reaffirms commitment to fully funding education

Sat, 05/15/2021 - 10:15am

The following is a transcript of a radio address presented by Governor Janet Mills: 

Seventeen years ago Maine people overwhelmingly voted to require the State to fund 55 percent of the cost of public education. This week, at long last, we proposed fulfilling that commitment.

Guess what? Funding education will go to two places — your kid’s classroom and your pocketbook, by helping hold down property taxes that are dedicated to local education.

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

My administration has three strategies to spur economic recovery in the short-term and strengthen our economy in the long-term.

I announced the first strategy last week — our Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, the proposal to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary Federal relief funds under the American Rescue Plan Act. That plan supports Maine small businesses and heritage industries, it encourages new businesses and job creation, and it invests in essential and human infrastructure like broadband, affordable housing, and childcare to keep and attract young families here in Maine.

I announced the second strategy last week as well — an economic bond proposal aimed at rebuilding Maine’s transportation system – you know our roads and bridges — and conserving our land and working waterfronts.

And I announced our third strategy – our “Part Two” budget proposal this week. The “Part Two” budget builds on the earlier “Part One” biennial budget that I signed into law in March which maintained current services and provided stability to Maine people during the pandemic.

This “Part Two” Budget fully funds education for the first time in history, it gives money back to property taxpayers, and it saves a record amount for a Rainy Day.

The budget also:

expands access to routine dental care for low-income Maine people;

supports hospitals, nursing, and residential care facilities who have been on the front lines of the pandemic;

incorporates the rate increases for various MaineCare providers as recommended by an objective, comprehensive evaluation initiated by DHHS;

increases the Maine State Grant scholarship Program to help students with college tuition;

increases tax relief for low-income and middle-income people hard hit by the pandemic; and

protects our drinking water by cleaning up those so called “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

Every person in our state should be able to send their kid to a good school, regardless of their zip code; to be able to save for the future instead of just scraping by; to be able to go to the doctor or dentist when necessary; to be able to drink clean, unpolluted water and breathe clean air; and to live in a home that is affordable and not be faced with a high property tax bill driven by inflated values.

I look forward to working with the Legislature to enact, as swiftly as possible, these three strategies — the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, the bond proposal, and the “Part Two” budget — to continue Maine’s economic recovery from the pandemic and to chart long-term growth for all of our communities.

This is Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.