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.
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