Governor Mills urging bipartisan agreement on bill to implement Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan

The legislature is expected to vote on the bill on Monday.
Gov. Janet Mills
Gov. Janet Mills(WABI)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A plan to spend nearly $1 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds has passed committee in Augusta.

Thursday night, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted 8 to 4 to implement the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan.

The legislature is expected to vote on the bill on Monday.

Appropriations Chair, Representative Teresa Pierce, calls this a ‘transformational’ bill for the state.

It will include funding for child care and housing, economic recovery grants for small businesses, and more.

Senator Cathy Breen says Democrats and Republicans came to a roadblock around additional investments in health equity and project labor agreements.

Republicans say rather than accepting the agreed upon plan, Democrats chose to undermine their agreements and walk away from a done deal.

Democrats say there are a few items in the bill they are not backing down on.

“We are holding firm on some core Democratic values which is social justice around healthcare and making sure that we are addressing and mitigating and doing our level best to change the landscape on healthcare and make sure that these disparities that we’ve seen arise are done away with. And secondly, that we are investing in jobs that Mainers will have good benefits, good pay, and have a living wage,” said Breen.

“There’s just a lot of great stuff in here that I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in the middle in the House will take some time to read before Monday and understand what really is in here as we move towards this vote so that we’re clear about what we’re voting for or maybe what they’re potentially not voting for,” Pierce said.

Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake released a statement saying Republicans have reached the point where enough is enough after spending more than $11 billion in state and federal money in the last eight months.

If the Democrats still have not given money to every pet project they support, they have a serious problem with their spending addiction. You really can reach a point where you have to just say ‘stop.’”

Senate Republican Leader Timberlake

“Our children and grandchildren will be paying higher taxes to cover this spending for generations to come, and there are already signs that it is creating dangerous inflation that will hurt all of us in the near future. At some point someone has to inject fiscal sanity into the discussion and we have reached that point.”

Assistant Senate Republican Leader Pouliot

Governor Mills is asking lawmakers to continue working on an agreement that could be passed by a two-thirds votes in the legislature so the bill can take effect immediately.

Otherwise, it would not take effect for 90 days.

“If we allow three more months to pass simply because we couldn’t find consensus, then that could mean the difference between a business surviving or failing, between a parent being able to afford child care so they can go back to work or not, between expanding broadband to rural communities or not. The stakes are high. The implications are real.”

Governor Janet Mills

Her full statement can be found here.

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