Governor Mills details pride in budget during radio address

Sat, 07/10/2021 - 12:00pm

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

Every person in our state should be able to send their child to a good school, regardless of their zip code; they should be able to earn a good living and save for the future; go to the doctor or the dentist when they need to; drink clean water and breathe clean air; and live in a safe, affordable home.

Last week, joined by Republican and Democratic lawmakers, I was pleased to sign into law a balanced, bipartisan budget that charts that brighter future for all of Maine.

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

The budget I signed into law last week builds on the earlier baseline budget that I signed in March to maintain current services and provide some stability to Maine people during the pandemic.

This budget keeps our promise to Maine people to meet the State’s obligation to pay 55 percent of the cost of K-12 education for the first time in history.

Funding education will go to two places — your child’s classroom and your pocketbook — by helping hold down property taxes that pay for local education. We also increased direct tax relief for 83,000 low-income and middle-income people who were hard hit by the pandemic.

The budget also fully restores revenue sharing with municipalities to five percent, provides a $300 hazard payment to Maine workers, and replenishes the Land for Maine’s Future Program with its first new funding in more than a decade.

The budget does not raise taxes and it sets money aside for emergencies by adding at least $60 million to the Budget Stabilization Fund, bringing the total of that fund to $328 million — an historic high. Under my Administration, the Budget Stabilization Fund has grown by more than $121 million.

The budget also funds preventative dental care for about 217,000 low-income Maine people.

It invests in Maine’s workforce training through Career and Technical Education Centers for the first time since 1997 and it provides a 3 percent baseline increase to the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, and Maine Maritime Academy, which has helped hold tuition flat for Maine students at the UMaine System.

The budget also funds emergency rate increases for nursing homes and wage increases for direct care workers to support those hardworking professionals who care for our loved ones and, the budget funds our efforts to protect drinking water by cleaning up the so called “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

The budget makes these critical investments in Maine people while living within our means.

In April, you know, the nonpartisan Revenue Forecasting Committee upgraded our revenue forecast, and it now exceeds the amount of revenue that had been forecasted prior to the beginning of the pandemic.

This budget strengthens our state, it saves for a Rainy Day, and is still $660 million lower than the Revenue Forecasting Committee projected in revenue for the next biennium.

The budget is an historic investment in the people of Maine, in our future, and in our economic recovery.

The dawn of a new, brighter day — and a better future for our people and our state — is here.

As we turn the corner on the deadly pandemic, the State of Maine – under my Administration and the bipartisan leadership of this Legislature – has delivered on its longstanding promises to the people of our state.

And I want to personally thank Representative Sawin Millett, Senator Paul Davis, Representative Teresa Pierce, and Senator Cathy Breen for leading the Appropriations Committee through these budget negotiations.

I am proud of their achievement and I am proud of this budget.

I am optimistic about the good it will accomplish for Maine people, and I am grateful to the Legislature who worked hard and in a bipartisan way to make this budget possible.

This is Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.