Maine lawmakers could finish budget talks soon

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers could finish budget talks soon.

The Democratic House chair of the Legislature's Appropriations committee says its work could finish by week's end.

Lawmakers hope to avoid contentious budget negotiations of past years.

Lawmakers will need two-thirds approval in both Democratic-led chambers to pass the budget.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills proposed an $8 billion, two-year budget. That's an 11% increase over $7.2 billion budget running through June.

Mills recently proposed sending $20 million of expected increased tax revenues into the rainy day fund.

Republicans had requested such a move.

Some Democrats have called for tax increases to provide property tax relief. But Mills doesn't support tax hikes.

Her office says her latest proposal leaves $16.5 million in surplus revenue available for lawmakers who've faced hundreds of bills this year.