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Governor Mills delivers virtual State of the Budget Address

Health care, education and the state’s economy, were the focus.
Mills delivered her State of the Budget Address virtually.
Mills delivered her State of the Budget Address virtually.(WABI)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 10:24 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Continuing to build on investments made in health care, education and the state’s economy, were the focus of Governor Mills state of the budget address.

“It is focused on recovery.”

She says her proposals are straightforward and no nonsense.

“To beat back to pandemic keeping main people healthy and saving lives to fund education, and to state maintain a stable economy and get people back to work. These budgets include $3 million for the health and environmental testing lab the health inspection program main immunization program. And the Public Health Emergency Response Program, $45, million in additional funds for K through 12 public education. If approved this increase will result in the highest level of state funding for education, ever.”

Also in the budget $25 million for the Medicaid Stabilization Fund, and $45 million for MaineCare rate increases for nursing facilities and more.

“And $82 million in tax relief for all Maine small businesses who received the Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, including complete relief for 99.1% of them, and significant though partial relief for the less than 1% of larger businesses that got more than a million dollars.”

“She talked about tax conformity.”

Following the speech we heard from Republican Senator Jeffrey Timberlake.

“They talk about the 99% and then the 1%. Well, I think the thing that everybody needs to remember is that 1% is 251 businesses or 40,000 hardworking Mainers in the state of Maine.

Timberlake praised Mills for acknowledging the hard work and tough times Mainers have weathered together over the last year. But he said he didn’t feel like she talked about what was next. He says the legislature needs to come together now.

“I think we need to find a way that we can be part of the discussion and part of how we move Maine forward.”

Governor Mills also talked about her Back to Work bond proposal. Some of the key components include:

  • Expanding Broadband: $30 million to expand broadband across Maine, building on the Governor’s successful efforts last year to secure $15 million in new funding for broadband;
  • Developing the Workforce: $25 million for equipment for Maine Career and Technical Education programs and a partnership with Maine’s Community College System to train skilled workers to fill jobs in high-growth industries;
  • Supporting Innovation in Heritage Industries: $50 million for Maine farmers, foresters, and fishermen to increase local processing infrastructure, improve access to markets, and invest in innovation to modernize and add value to products grown, caught, and cultured here in Maine;
  • Increasing Childcare: $6 million for grants and low interest loans to renovate, expand, or construct childcare facilities and increase the availability of childcare slots, with half of that money going to underserved communities in rural Maine.

The Back to Work proposal will also include investments in roads and bridges, working lands and waterfronts, research and development, and energy efficiency. She says the complete proposal will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

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