Maine Legislature overrides budget veto

Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013 in News

Maine Legislature overrides budget veto

by Andi Parkinson

AUGUSTA -- The House and Senate easily overrode Gov. Paul LePage's veto of the bipartisan budget on Wednesday afternoon.

The House voted to override in a 114-34 vote (70 percent voting in favor), while the Senate overrode the veto by a vote of 26-7 (nearly 75 percent voting in favor).  The $6.3 billion bipartisan budget compromise was passed unanimously by the Legislature's Appropriations committee and passed by more than the required two-thirds support of the House and Senate.

This puts to rest any fear of a state shutdown next week.

The bipartisan budget compromise significantly reduces the cuts to cities, towns and Maine’s schools that the governor proposed in his version of the budget. The bipartisan budget passed by the Legislature restores $125 million to revenue sharing, replaces the Circuit Breaker cuts with a $29 million property tax fairness credit and restores $9 million in cuts to the Homestead Tax Credit. It also restores $37 million in cuts to Maine’s public school classrooms and provides funds for the early education program Head Start.

The restorations are paid for, in part, by closing corporate tax loopholes, and increasing the sales tax by half a penny and the meals and lodging taxes by one percent until June 30, 2015. Additionally, the Legislature’s budget restores funding for merit and longevity pay for state workers.

This is the first time the Senate has overridden one of Governor LePage’s vetoes.

 “I have voted on six biennial budgets in my time in the Legislature, and this is the budget vote I am most proud of,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “It’s certainly not a perfect budget, but it is a responsible budget. This is what legislating should look like.”

 The budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 will take effect in five days, on July 1, 2013.



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