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 done in finalizing the state budget and ensuring the new education funds are spread equitably among all Maine’s public schools. There will be differing opinions. But we hope our colleagues will join us in supporting this proposal to fully fund education according to state law.”