News Releases

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...

Maine Senate President Announces Appointees to Opiate Task Force

AUGUSTA – Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) has announced his appointments to the Maine Legislature’s “Task Force to Address the Opioid Crisis in the State.” The Maine Legislature established the committee following a record amount of opiate overdoses in Maine last year. On average, more than one person a day died from a fatal overdose in 2016. The task force will examine current state laws regarding law enforcement, prevention, treatment and recovery. It will also review the report and recommendations of the Maine Opiate Collaborative issued on May 6, 2016 as well as initiatives that have been successfully undertaken in other states. An initial report to the Legislature from the task force is due on April 30, 2017, and a final report will be issued by December 6, 2017. Lawmakers will use the reports to submit legislation during both sessions of the 128th Legislature. Members of the committee will include lawmakers, members of law enforcement, the medical community, and drug treatment specialists. Senate President Thibodeau’s appointees are: Maine Senate: Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot), Chair Senator Scott Cyrway (R-Kennebec) Senator James Dill (D-Penobscot) Senator Geoffrey Gratwick (D-Penobscot) Other appointees: Katie Fullam Harris-Opioid Treatment Facility Dr. Steven Diaz- Augusta Administrator of Hospital Gordon Smith-Association of Physicians Sherriff Jeff Trafton-Law Enforcement Senate President Thibodeau said, “I am pleased all of these individuals have made a commitment to help solve this epidemic, and I look forward to the results of their...

Senator Dana Dow Proposes to Eliminate Three Percent Surtax

AUGUSTA – State Senator Dana Dow (R-Lincoln) has sponsored legislation to roll back the three percent surtax on business owners and households earning more than $200,000. If passed, LD 571, “An Act To Eliminate the 3 Percent Surcharge on Certain Income and Provide an Alternative Funding Source for the Fund To Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education,” would eliminate the new income tax designed to increase funding to K-12 education, replacing the funds with taxes from other sources, such as the those collected from the sale of recreational marijuana products, on Airbnb stays and from Amazon sales, until the state has met the 55% funding obligation. “The people of Maine voted to make education funding a top priority over a decade ago when they voted on a referendum to require the State to pay 55% of the cost of education,” said Sen. Dow. “Last year, they again voted to increase education funding with the passage of Question 2. Unfortunately, to fund this increase in support, Question 2 raised Maine’s income tax rate significantly, making it the highest in the country. “This new income tax rate makes our state uncompetitive, both on a regional and national scale. As a result, we’ve already started to see businesses, health care professionals and other affected citizens leave our state, taking jobs and resources with them, because they can’t afford to operate here under these conditions. “We have heard the people’s message loud and clear in Augusta; funding our schools will continue to be a top priority. But we can’t reach this goal off the backs of Maine’s employers and small businesses. That’s...

Maine Supplemental Budget Clears Committee Hurdle

Appropriations Committee Passes 2017 Supplemental Budget AUGUSTA – The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee today voted in support of an amended version of the proposed 2017 Supplemental Budget, unanimously. The amended supplemental budget, which largely remained the same, includes: $4.8 million ($3 million from the General Fund and $1.807 in federal money) to support opioid addiction treatment for uninsured and MaineCare patients through the Opioid Health Homes program $155,000 for the Secretary of State’s office to cover a gap in funding for the June election $5,050,000 for the University of Maine System to continue the tuition freeze $2 million for the early college program $35 million for the Budget Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) $13.99 million as a one-time payment to the Maine Public Employee Retirement System (MPERS) $7 million for Maine Military Authority Restructuring $2.98 million for the Grand Lake Stream Fish Hatchery $2.5 million for the Casco Fish Hatchery $524,151 for Maine Emergency Management Agency to go towards disaster assistance programs $375,000 for Veterans service grants $150,000 for the Attorney General to improve opioid detection in autopsies “It was encouraging to see everyone come together to agree on measures of great importance to our state such as combating the opioid crisis and keeping the cost of higher education affordable for students who chose to attend a public college in Maine,” said Senator James Hamper (R-Oxford), Senate Chair of the AFA Committee. “I am hopeful that we will continue to build on this momentum during our work on the governor’s biennial budget proposal.” The 2017 Supplemental Budget will now go to the Senate for...

Work of Searsport Museum on Display at the State House

Senate President Urges Visitors to View Works of Maine Artists AUGUSTA – Visitors to the Maine State House can view the works of 17 contemporary Maine artists that will be on display through early March. The Maine Arts Commission has partnered with the Penobscot Marine Museum for the current “Art in the Capitol exhibit: “Maine: A Continuum of Place.” It includes 25 paintings by Maine artists, as well as original glass plate images from the museum’s postcard collection. It coincides with the 100th anniversary of “Maine Postcard Day” which was established by Governor Oakley Curtis. Governor Curtis encouraged all Mainers to mail a Maine postcard to out-of-state friends. Senate President Thibodeau said, “With their extraordinary talent, these Maine artists have managed to capture the beauty of our state, and I have the privilege of seeing their amazing works of art every time I walk to my office at the State House. I believe everyone should come to see them.” The exhibit will be on display through March 3, 2017 throughout the ground and second floors of the State House. All Art in the Capitol exhibits are free and open to the public. # #...

Maine Supreme Court Sets Schedule for Filing Briefs on Ranked Choice Voting Question

PORTLAND – The Maine Supreme Court today issued a procedural order (attached) that establishes a schedule for briefings on the matter of ranked-choice voting. The justices have invited representatives from the Maine Senate, House of Representatives, Governor Paul LePage, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and other interested parties to file briefs addressing two questions: whether a solemn occasion exists for the Supreme Court to address the matter of ranked-choice voting and whether ranked-choice voting is allowed under the Maine Constitution. Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) said, “I would like to thank the justices for their prompt response in acknowledging the Senate’s request to look into this matter. Lawmakers desperately need guidance from the court as we move forward crafting public policy in order to prevent uncertainty in the outcome of our future elections.” The Law Court has established Friday, March 3, 2017, 4 p.m. as the deadline for submitting briefs. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled for April 13, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. at the Cumberland County Courthouse....

Maine Senate President Statement on Marijuana Moratorium Bill

“The Maine Legislature today took decisive and appropriate action regarding legalized marijuana by voting unanimously for this bill in both the House and Senate. Passage of LD 88 means minors will not be able to use or possess marijuana legally and will prohibit driving while using the drug on Maine roads.  It will also give lawmakers time to carefully craft responsible legislation around legalization to protect the public. “I am encouraged by today’s vote, but much more work remains to be done on this issue.”  ...

Contact

Senator Mike Thibodeau
3 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333

(207) 287-1500
mike@mainesenatepresident.com

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