Statement on Passing of Representative Gina Mason

“We are all deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Representative Gina Mason. Gina was a tireless advocate for the people she represented in Lisbon, serving in local government and at the State House in Augusta. We will fondly remember her disarming approach to solving problems in Augusta and for her extraordinary efforts in organizing the annual Moxie Festival Parade in Lisbon. “Gina had a close relationship with her entire family. The bond she shared with her son, Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, will be sorely missed in Augusta. Stacy and I join the entire Maine Senate family in sending our thoughts and prayers to the Mason family during this difficult time.” Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau...

Maine Legislature’s Committee of Conference Approves Budget

AUGUSTA – The Committee of Conference appointed by the Maine Legislature to reach a budget agreement tonight approved a proposal to send to the full Legislature. The committee vote was 5-1. The agreement includes an additional $162 million in education funding, achieving the 55 percent state contribution threshold for the first time. It also includes education reforms to put more resources into the classroom, particularly in rural Maine. The proposal also fully repeals the surtax on Maine’s small businesses, which was a top priority for legislative Republicans. Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau said, “This budget incorporates priorities from all legislative caucuses by repealing the job-crushing tax on Maine’s small businesses, providing the largest education increase in Maine history and, for the first time, fulfilling the state’s obligation to fund K-12 education at 55 percent. “A significant portion of the increased education funding will go directly to property tax relief. “It also includes significant reforms to education spending to ensure the increased funding makes its way into the classrooms.” “It also directs additional resources toward services for Maine residents with disabilities. “While I don’t believe this is a perfect document, we are hopeful this will avert the harm that would result from a government shutdown.” Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec), a member of the Committee of Conference said, “While no one will be thrilled with this budget, it is the result of a compromise we hope will garner the two-thirds support necessary for passage. The people of Maine are counting on us to deliver, and I believe we are now in a position to pass a budget.” The budget proposal will...

Senate President Appoints Senators to Committee of Conference to Reach Budget Agreement

AUGUSTA – Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) today appointed three members to a committee of conference in an effort to reach an agreement following an impasse over the state’s biennial budget that begins on July 1, 2017. Joint Rules of the Maine Legislature allow a committee of conference to be convened when there is a disagreement between the House and Senate over a particular bill. According to the rules, the committee includes three members of each chamber who voted on the prevailing side of a bill. Lawmakers, thus far, have been unable to reach a budget agreement that will garner the necessary two-thirds majorities needed to pass a state budget by June 30, 2017. Senate President Michael Thibodeau said, “There are a lot of good people working to make sure we are successful. I am confident that the members of the committee will work tirelessly to find a solution.” The Senate members of the committee of conference are: Senator Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Senator Cathy Breen (D-Cumberland) The committee of conference will begin its work at 7 pm this evening, June 13, 2017, at the State House with an organizational meeting....

Senate President Statement on Resignation of Richard Rosen

“Richard Rosen is, without question, one of the most respected voices on financial matters at the State House, and his presence will be sorely missed. “I have had the privilege of serving with Richard in the Legislature and he has been a friend for years. Very few people are as knowledgeable about budget issues and the legislative process. Richard’s calm, reasonable approach to financial matters was always greatly valued and appreciated by Republicans, Democrats and Independents, alike. “Richard’s work has resulted in a better...

Maine Senate President Statement on Democrat Budget Proposal

“Last week Senate Republicans put forth a responsible budget proposal. It includes the largest increase in education spending in the state’s history and funds education at 55 percent, according to Maine state law. It includes no tax increases and protects small businesses by eliminating the job-crushing surtax. “We appreciate the Democrats offering a counterproposal. But it increases the tax burden on the people of Maine, and we have already demonstrated that we can fund education at 55 percent with existing resources and without raising taxes. “Republicans have been at the table throughout this process and will remain at the table. While we are all passionate about our positions, we cannot allow that passion to become on obstacle to finding common ground and passing a responsible budget for the people of Maine.” Senate President Michael Thibodeau...

Senate Republican Budget Would Fund State Education at 55 Percent

AUGUSTA – Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) today announced Republicans have found a way to reach the long-sought-after goal of the state funding 55 percent of local education costs, and that it can be done without the new highest-in-the-nation tax bracket, a distinction no one in our state wants to hold. Since last November, Senate President Thibodeau has said that Maine voters made it clear that they want more state resources for local education, but he does not believe that they wanted to harm Maine’s economy in the process. “We are in a very fortunate position right now,” Senate President Thibodeau said, “The amount of revenue coming into the state will allow us to allocate an additional $100 million towards education in the next budget cycle with existing resources, and without the new tax on Maine job creators. That will finally get us to the 55 percent threshold that voters demanded more than a decade ago. This is a breakthrough we should all be very proud of. “It is a budget that pays our bills and won’t bankrupt our state.” The Republican budget proposal would eliminate the new highest-in-the-nation tax bracket on Maine’s small businesses, doctors and other professionals. Maine’s Office of Policy and Management estimates this tax increase on certain Mainers will result in the loss of as many as 4300 jobs, a drop of as much as $600 million in real disposable income and a population decrease of as much as 1400 people. “Reaching the 55 percent threshold is something we can all celebrate,” Senator Thibodeau said. “To be sure, there is much work to be...