Appropriations Committee reveals proposed state budget

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) The state budget is out of committee and will go to the full Legislature for a vote.

It's a little less than the $8.04 billion Governor Mills proposed.

The $7.897 billion package includes $75 million in property tax relief as well as increased funding for health care and education.

"We went into this budget hoping to bring a sense of normalcy and bring bipartisanship back to the A.F.A. Committee, and I was really happy that yesterday we voted out a bipartisan budget," said Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, House Chair of the Appropriations Committee. "We worked extremely hard as a committee, all 13 of us, the Democrats and the Republicans."

It also funds programs aimed at expanding broadband and renewable energy.

But some lawmakers worry it's unsustainable, since it takes money from the Lepage-era surplus.

"I don't know that I would characterize it as a good budget," said Sen. Jim Hamper, R-Oxford, the highest ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee. "It is one that I think both sides have problems with. Personally I'm concerned that we're spending way too much money, in that we're spending $126 million more than we're scheduled to take in."

We're told the budget could be taken up in the House as early as Friday.