Lawmakers consider spending, saving $128.5 million surplus
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine legislative leaders differ about what to do, if anything, with a projected $128.5 million surplus this year.
Republicans are praising conservative fiscal policies and the elimination of a voter-approved surtax on the wealthy. Republican House Leader and gubernatorial candidate Ken Fredette claims Democrats are now rushing to increase state spending and grow government.
Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon says Maine’s fiscal health is only as meaningful as the health of its people at a time of an opioid epidemic and a workforce shortage. Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine says the surplus is a chance for a serious discussion about addressing issues like access to health care after voters approved Medicaid expansion in November.
Maine’s Economic Forecasting Committee says it expects Republican President Trump’s federal tax reform to spur economic growth.