On May 10, the 131st Maine Legislature came to a close after making significant progress on a number of issues most important to the people of Maine. In this column, I will share some updates on critical measures funded in our supplemental budget and reflections on my first term in office.

Last month, Democrats in the Legislature passed a supplemental budget that builds on the historic investments we made last year. It will expand the income eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, which will assist recipients on limited incomes in better affording out-of-pocket expenses. This budget also continues to fully fund 55% of K-12 public education costs, and will reimburse towns for expenses associated with the Senior Property Tax Stabilization Program. It will also provide stability for child care providers while implementing the expanded Child Care Affordability Program.

In addition to funding ongoing initiatives, this budget will deliver new investments in emergency housing, low-barrier shelters and more affordable housing options. This housing investment is critical. Those following this column know that I have been beating the drum for more significant investments in housing, especially housing construction, for quite some time. Initiatives funded in this budget include the Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the Affordable Homeownership Program, and manufactured housing and mobile home park preservation and assistance. Manufactured housing, as opposed to site-built, is a more affordable option for many people, making this a particularly smart investment for Maine. Recognizing a distressing reality, the budget will also extend housing subsidies to elementary and secondary school students facing homelessness.

It is crucial, now more than ever, that we maintain our support and investment in affordable housing. This is not just for the sake of our residents’ health and well-being, but also for the advancement of our economic and climate goals. The construction of more affordable and accessible housing will not only stabilize property taxes but also contribute to the mitigation of our still-overheated real estate market.

Another issue vital to Mainers across the state is bolstering the infrastructure of our mental and public health systems, which have been chronically underfunded for years. While we’ve made significant progress as a state to rebuild these essential services, there is still significantly more work to do to invest in Maine’s mental health infrastructure. This budget continues to move the needle in the right direction. It invests in mental health organizations participating in certified community behavioral health clinic projects, staff recruitment and retainment incentives for medication management services, crisis receiving centers (including one in Lewiston), mental health crisis intervention, 24/7 mobile response services and more.

I am also proud to have supported significant funding for storm damage recovery resources for businesses and communities along with funding for community resilience in the face of climate change threats.


These are just a few of the significant achievements in the supplemental budget we passed last month. These are not simply dollar figures in a spreadsheet. A budget speaks volumes about our priorities, and this budget delivers on our commitment to Mainers by strengthening our communities.

However, it must be noted that as lawmakers, our work is never truly finished. There are plenty of necessary initiatives that the next Legislature will need to take up. This work isn’t easy. Debates and occasional messiness are baked in – you have 186 duly elected officials and a duly elected Governor, all with their unique points of view and constituencies. But the political process, while often frustrating, is incredibly important. It is how we work through and resolve our differences peacefully and within a clear organizational structure. All one needs to do is look at the violence and disarray throughout the world to acknowledge that American politics and democracy, for all of its flaws, offer people more hope to have a government that works for them than anything else we have tried in history.

We do a pretty good job of navigating these challenges in Maine. Most measures are dealt with in a bipartisan fashion, and we are bolstered by an incredible staff without whom nothing would happen. These workers, from the chamber staff to the production staff to our legislative aides, put our government — and the people’s business — on their shoulders daily.

It continues to be an honor and a privilege to serve my community in Augusta.

Rep. Marc Malon is serving his first term in the Maine House, representing a portion of Biddeford. He serves as a member of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee and the Labor and Housing Committee.

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