News Releases

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...

Senate President Sponsors Bill to Bring More Emergency Responders to Rural Maine

AUGUSTA – Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) today testified in support of his bill that is designed to address the shortage of emergency responders in rural Maine. LD 1462, “Resolve, To Establish a Pilot Project to Facilitate the Acquisition of Basic Emergency Medical Training in Rural Communities in the State,” is currently before the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. It would direct the Department of Public Safety to establish an emergency medical services apprenticeship pilot project to expand the pool of available emergency medical services personnel. Apprenticeship programs would be established in four geographically diverse towns that have 5,000 or fewer residents and provide accessible and affordable basic emergency medical training classes in those towns. Senate President Thibodeau said, “In emergency medical situations, where seconds count, having a qualified medical professional nearby can mean the difference between life and death. The intent of this bill is to expand the number of qualified emergency medical responders in rural Maine where they are most needed.” The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will consider this bill in the coming weeks before sending its recommendations to the full...

Maine Republican Leaders United on Opposition to Three Percent Tax Hike

Senate President and House Republican Leader Say Budget Cannot Include Highest in the Nation Tax Bracket AUGUSTA – With the state budget deadline approaching, Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) and House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) today announced any two-year budget agreement cannot include an onerous three-percent surcharge that will give Maine the dubious distinction of having the highest tax bracket in the nation. Republican leadership has been meeting on a regular basis at the State House to address Maine’s tax issues while Democrats continue their listening tour that is not scheduled to conclude until May 11. “It is the responsibility of our elected representatives to act in the best interest of the people of Maine which I believe does not include having the highest income tax rate in the nation,” said Rep. Fredette. “I believe that Republicans will not endorse the 3 percent surcharge and we will find a solution that will allow us to pass a 2-year budget.” Senate President Thibodeau said, “We stand ready to meet with Democrats to discuss our budget priorities. But any agreement must include a repeal of the punishing three percent surcharge that is already prompting Maine businesses and professionals to leave the state. “I am certain we can honor the spirit of what voters asked for without hurting our businesses and discouraging investment in Maine. We need a budget that won’t bankrupt Maine’s economy,” Thibodeau said. Senate President Michael Thibodeau: Contact Jim Cyr – (207) 287-1501 House Republican Leader Ken Fredette: Contact Rob Poindexter – (207)...

Maine Unemployment Hits 40 Year Low

The Maine Labor Department reports the state’s unemployment rate of 3 percent is the lowest it’s been since 1976. Below is a statement from Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau. “Over the past six years, Republicans in the Maine Legislature have worked tirelessly to lower taxes and enact other policies to promote job growth and investment in our state. This historically low unemployment figure is validation of those efforts by legislative Republicans and the governor, and the people of Maine are better off as a result. “These figures are particularly encouraging when you consider Maine’s seasonal summer economy has yet to begin. “Maine still faces enormous challenges, but we are blessed with the most creative, talented and hard-working people in the nation, and I believe our best days are yet to come.” Senate President Michael...

Scout Recognition Day at Maine State House

  AUGUSTA – The Maine State Legislature will host Scout Recognition Day on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The annual event was created to honor the youth and volunteers involved in Maine’s scouting programs. Scouts and their families are welcome to set up display items in the Hall of Flags where they may meet their local legislators.  There are also opportunities for scouts to serve as pages in the House and Senate, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, sing the National Anthem and lead the opening prayer. Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) said, “Scouting is a time-honored tradition in Maine that helps instill important leadership qualities in our young people that benefit them and their communities later on in life. I always look forward to seeing the young leaders of tomorrow at the State House, and I would encourage all of Maine’s scouts to attend this terrific event.” The Hall of Flags will feature presentations of Eagles Scout projects and Gold Award recipients as well as information about scout camps and other programs.  We will also honor the 2016 Class of Eagle and Gold Award recipients. All Maine scouts are invited to tour the Maine State Museum and the State House and have the opportunity to earn a Citizenship and Nation Badge! Those who are interested are encouraged to reach out their scout leaders for more information or contact Pine Tree & Katahdin Council of Boy Scouts -Chuck: cmahaleris@gmail.com, (207) 400-9850 For the Girl Scouts of Maine, contact: Patti: pmontana@gsmaine.org,  989-7474...

Contact

Senator Mike Thibodeau
3 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333

(207) 287-1500
mike@mainesenatepresident.com

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