Commentary

The 127th Maine Legislature Cut Taxes, Controlled Spending and Reformed Welfare

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The 127th Maine Legislature has now adjourned for good and House Republicans are proud to say we have led the charge to move Maine in the right direction. We addressed a number of pressing needs facing our state and we do in a fiscally responsible way.

“During the course of the 127th Legislature, House Republicans continued to reform state government and stand up for fiscal responsibility. We passed another large tax cut, provided meaningful and substantial welfare reforms and once again stopped Medicaid expansion, to name just a few examples of how Republicans continue to move Maine forward,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport.

“House Republicans proved that the Legislature can tackle the important issues facing our state and do so in a fiscally responsible way.”

“I’m pleased with the progress we made during the 127th Maine Legislature,” said Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Ellie Espling of New Gloucester. “We provided increases for home health care workers to help Maine’s elderly grow old in their homes. We also provided much needed pay raises for some of our law enforcement members. We accomplished all of these things and still managed to put millions of dollars into the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund.”

Below are just a few of those accomplishments:

Easing the tax burden on the Maine people and Maine Businesses:

  • House Republicans led the way by providing one of the largest tax cuts in Maine history.
  • Passed tax conformity which not only provided $38 million in tax relief, but also allows Maine’s businesses the ability to operate in a predictable and stable environment.

Building Maine’s Rainy Day Fund: 

  • Put an additional $65 million dollars in the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) which now has nearly $200 million. House Republicans fought vigorously against any new spending and demanded that the state’s projected surplus revenues be put into the rainy day fund. With the exception of the $15 million in additional education funding, all other initiatives were achieved within existing resources.

Welfare Reform:

  • After years of fighting for the real, substantive welfare reform Mainers have been asking for, we took a major step in the right direction by passing LD 1097 with unanimous House Republican support. 38 Democrats voted in opposition. LD 1097 implements the following changes to the TANF program and what those welfare benefits can be used to purchase:
    • Prohibits the use of expenditures on items such as tobacco products, liquor, lottery tickets and several other similar items. Unlike previous attempts, this bill contained stiff penalties for those who violated this policy.

Honoring Maine’s Veterans:

  • Maine has the largest population of veterans in the country. This session we passed LD 1612, a comprehensive package aimed at helping veterans access services. This package does the following:
    • Provides tuition waivers for Maine National Guard members who choose to attend a school in the University of Maine system, Maine Community College System or the Maine Maritime Academy.
    • Addresses homelessness among veterans by maximizing existing services, enhancing communication among providers and improving access to services that support permanent and stable housing for veterans.

Pay Raises For Maine Law Enforcement:

  • LD 1523, sponsored by House Republican Leader Ken Fredette, provides pay increases for Maine State Troopers, Maine Game Wardens and Maine Marine Patrol.
    • These law enforcement agencies are experiencing an alarming number of vacancies that are directly attributable to non-competitive pay. This bill addresses that issue and dramatically improves their ability to recruit and retain new officers, troopers and wardens.

Taking Care of Maine’s Elderly:

  • We provided increased reimbursement rates for direct care workers to allow Maine’s elderly to grow old

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