6/17/2015: State budget enacted

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

In the early hours of this morning, against many significant odds, your legislature enacted a state budget.

Briefly, I just want to let you know that in my view, while this budget has all the hallmarks and flaws of compromise which must be expected from a divided government, I beleive that on balance it is a fair product won in good faith.

Despite my significant disappointment in some of the details, I am proud of the legislature as a collective body and of the leaders on each side who, in the end, negotiated us around many hazards which might have either exploded us as a body politic or crashed the state full speed into a granite wall.

The result is outlined below and those interested can see in detail a distributional analysis of the restructured tax system.

Best wishes,

Maine Legislature

Speaker’s Office


June 16, 2015
Contact: Jodi Quintero [Eves]: 841-6279; Ann Kim [McCabe, Gideon[: 233-1838

Maine House Gives Final Approval to Bipartisan State Budget

Bipartisan budget prevents state shutdown, includes middle-class tax cut, property tax relief, investment in education and welfare reform

(Augusta) – The Maine House early Wednesday morning gave final approval to a $6.7 billion bipartisan budget.  The measure received a vote of 105 to 42, surpassing the two-thirds threshold to pass the emergency bill.

“The bipartisan budget agreement is a huge win for Maine families and our economy,” said House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. “Democrats have been pushing for a budget and tax proposal that provides the largest benefit to middle class and working families, while investing in our economic future. I’m proud to say our bipartisan budget meets these goals.”

The budget targets income tax cuts to middle and low income families, doubles direct property tax relief for all families and invests in students and workers. It also includes meaningful welfare reform, eliminating the so-called welfare “cliff” to ease the transition from welfare to work for struggling families.

“There was a lot of give and take to get here. This is true compromise in divided government. This budget prioritizes regular Mainers, invests in our future, protects vulnerable Mainers and rejects trickle-down economics,” said House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan. “It’s further proof that we as a Legislature can work together for the people of Maine.”

The measure was amended by the Senate and includes the following provisions:

  • Middle-Class Tax Cuts:

    • Rejects Gov. Paul LePage’s unpaid for tax breaks for the wealthy, which would have given 50 percent of the benefit to the top 10 percent.

    • Provides a fully paid for $135 million tax cut per year, with 75 percent of the benefit going to the bottom 90 percent of families.

      • Creates new bracket structure:

$0-$21,400 – 5.8 percent

$21,401-$50,000 – 6.75 percent

$50,001 +  – 7.15 percent

    • Makes Earned Income Tax Credit refundable up to 5 percent.

    • Nearly doubles the standard deduction to $11,600.

    • Keeps home mortgage deduction.

    • Creates sales tax fairness credit.

  • Property Tax Relief:

    • Doubles the homestead property tax credit for all Maine families from $10,000 to $20,000.

    • Retains current funding for revenue sharing at $62.5 million.

  • Investments in Education:

    • $80 million in new state investment for K-12 education.

    • Invests $10 million for scholarships to help Maine students and workers pay for college through the Maine State Grant program.

    • Provides $1 million for job training for workers.

    • Increases funding by $28 million for the Community College System and University of Maine.

  • Welfare Reform:

    • Eases the transition from welfare to work by eliminating the “cliff” and ensuring struggling parents can work by addressing child care and transportation needs.

    • Rejects Gov. Paul LePage’s changes to General Assistance.

    • Changes General Assistance formula to a 70 percent reimbursement rate for all municipalities.

    • Allows all eligible legal non-citizens to continue to receive Supplemental Security Income.

    • Maintains current law to allow legal non-citizens, who are elderly, disabled, victims of domestic violence, or experiencing other hardships such as waiting for work permits, to be eligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

The proposal is paid for by keeping the current sales tax rate of 5.5 percent and exporting taxes to tourists by retaining the current meals tax at 8 percent and raising the lodging tax to 9 percent.

“This budget makes smart, targeted investments we need to grow our economy,” said Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport. “It invests in our youngest children, our students and our workers. It boosts funding for Head Start, K-12 education and public institutions of higher learning. It helps more Mainers go to college and it helps our workforce stay competitive through job training programs.”

The bipartisan agreement builds on the work of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.  It protects $48 million in funds to help low-income seniors pay for their care and medicine, rejects cuts to the Fund for Healthy Maine, increases funding for nursing homes by $16  million and invests $10 million to reduce waitlists for people with disabilities. It exempts military pensions from taxation and provides funding for new drug agents in the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The measure now heads to the Senate for a final vote. Once the Legislature passes the budget, the governor has 10 days, not including Sundays, to veto the bill.  A budget must be in place before July 1 to prevent the shutdown of state government.


Representative Brian Hubbell,

Maine House District 135
Bar Harbor, Lamoine, Mount Desert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *