Mills' $8 billion budget features increased education and Medicaid spending

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Governor Mills announced Friday the details of her proposed $8 billion dollar budget for the next two years.

It's an 11 percent increase over the current budget.

"With this budget, our administration is making responsible investments to tackle the serious challenges we have, and honoring the will of the people," said Mills. "And it does so by living within our means."

Her first priority is healthcare.

"Healthcare is not a privilege reserved for the well-to-do, it's a human right," said Mills.

Her budget fully funds Medicaid expansion and creates a $30 million Medicaid reserve account.

The budget also invests an additional $126 million into education.

It increases the minimum teacher salary to $40,000.

"We're hoping to rebuild, be able to better serve the state of Maine, and the teachers, and the administrators and the communities," said Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

Mills says the budget will not raise taxes or dip into the rainy day fund.

Republicans, though, are not pleased with the increased spending.

"In a word, our reaction is: unsustainable," said Sen. Jim Hamper (R-Oxford), who serves on the Appropriations Committee.

"Sustainability is certainly not 11% and certainly not by getting there with one-time money, and clearly those details we'll have to work though in committee," said Rep. Sawin Millett (R-Waterford), who also serves on the Appropriations Committee.

Republicans say although Mills says there will not be any state tax increases, parts of the budget could cause towns to raise property taxes.

The Governor will present the budget to the legislature Monday night.