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Maine state officials urge U.S. Senate to pass COVID-19 relief bill

Independent Senator Angus King says holding out is not helpful.
The next state revenue forecast is scheduled for December.
The next state revenue forecast is scheduled for December.(Gray tv)
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT
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MAINE (WABI) - It has been more than 100 days since the House of Representatives passed a COVID-19 relief bill that has yet to be voted on in the Senate.

Republicans have said the 3-trillion dollar plus package is too costly.

Independent Senator Angus King says holding out is not helpful.

“We’re one family, we’re one country, we’re one community and we help each other out when there is a crisis. And what we’re facing now is really a slow motion fiscal hurricane that’s wiping out the budgets all across the country,” King said.

According to the state’s Revenue Forecasting Committee, Maine is projected to have a $528 million shortfall in 2021.

Senator Angus King is worried about the essential workers in Maine who could lose their jobs, along with services that could be cut.

“About 25 or 30 percent of our state budget actually goes right back into the municipalities in the form of general purpose aid to education and revenue sharing and other grants and contracts. So when we talk about not helping the state we’re really talking about also hurting the towns and cities throughout Maine,” King said.

Governor Janet Mills took part in Monday’s virtual news conference, too.

She says the state’s shortfall could impact public safety, schools, health care, and other essential services in the future.

“We’re facing the winter months which almost always means an additional downturn in business because of the cost of energy and heating. So the money is crucial through the next 6 months, the next 9 month period so we can get back on our feet,” Mills said.

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