State

Late-night budget deal aims to dodge Maine government shutdown

Barely a day away from a government shutdown, a special six-person budget committee recommended a tenuous two-year state spending plan to the Legislature late Thursday, setting up a scramble to wrangle two-thirds support and a showdown with Gov. Paul LePage.

The deal brokered by Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, and House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, has a bottom line of $7.1 billion and appears to be the state’s only hope of avoiding a shutdown.

But it’s full of pitfalls that could repel some Republicans and Democrats in what promises to be a dramatic set of votes on Friday. Minority members in both parties said they were left out of negotiations, with Rep. Tom Winsor, R-Norway, casting the lone vote against the plan.

Chief among potential conflict points are a lodging tax increase and overall price tag that Gov. Paul LePage has said is too high, as well as repeal of a surtax that progressive Democrats have staunchly defended.

The Fiddlehead Focus / St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “Late-night budget deal aims to dodge Maine government shutdown,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writers Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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