AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills will present the first major work of her administration when she delivers her state budget proposal to the Legislature during a joint session of the House and Senate in early February.

The state’s current two-year budget runs out on June 30 and the state’s constitution requires a balanced budget be enacted by the Legislature every two years.

While governors propose a budget, it is up to the Legislature and its budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee to pass a budget law to raise revenues and fund government operations.

Mills’ official proposal for the biennial budget is due to the Legislature by Feb. 8, according to state law. She will address lawmakers to outline her proposal on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

Though few details have emerged so far, Mills has set in motion a Medicaid expansion that was approved by voters in 2017 and is estimated to cost about $50 million a year. She has vowed the expansion will be funded without increasing taxes. The state ended its last fiscal year in June of 2018 with a budget surplus of about $176 million.

“This is a pivotal moment for Maine. The administration and the Legislature have the opportunity to work together to address the serious challenges facing our state and to shape a brighter future for Maine people,” Mills said in a prepared statement issued Thursday. “I look forward to sharing my vision for the future with the Legislature. It is time to begin the important conversations and public debate which will shape better public policy for our state.”

The state’s current two-year $7.1 billion budget was agreed to by lawmakers and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage only after a three-day shutdown that idled state government in July 2017.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

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Correction: This story was updated at 12:05 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2019 to correct the year that Medicaid expansion was approved by Maine voters.


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