Governor LePage signs new state budget into law

Published: Jul. 4, 2017 at 1:50 AM EDT
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Governor Paul LePage signed the budget passed by the legislature into law Tuesday morning.

The House of Representatives passed the spending plan 147-2, easily exceeding a needed two-thirds majority. The Senate approved by a vote of 35-0.

With an approved budget in place, the governor has rescinded the state’s civil emergency. Effective immediately, state government will resume normal operations.

State offices will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

Members of the public can expect state offices to be open their normal business hours on Wednesday, July 5th.

The governor and Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon agreed to eliminate the 1.5-percent lodging tax hike that was holding up the latest budget deal.

In return, the spending plan will include more funding for Head Start programs and mitigate proposed cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The $7.1 billion, two-year budget also increased K-12 education spending by $162 million to partially offset funding lost with the elimination of a 3 percent, voter-approved surcharge on high-income earners.

Senate Democratic leader Troy Jackson said neither side was completely satisfied and that's the way the system is supposed to work. He says in the end, "we got a budget we can live with."

The Maine House of Representatives cast a key vote Monday night to set in motion a chain of events that brought the new budget accord up for a vote.

The shutdown began on Saturday morning.