HomeTop StoriesMills threatens to veto the bill with additional spending

Mills threatens to veto the bill with additional spending

The Committee on Appropriations and Finance prepares the budget proposal that is sent to the full Legislature for consideration. (Emma Davis/Maine Morning Star)

“Please throw it,” the governor said. Janet Mills told lawmakers in a letter Wednesday morning, the day the Legislature will adjourn, urging both chambers to pass the supplemental budget and its original version of an emergency relief bill.

Monday the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs reopening of voting on the budget plan it had previously drawn up around 3 a.m. a week earlier, in reverse proposed cuts after objections from the Republican minority, some Democrats and Mills.

These changes were not enough Persuading Republicans to support Democrats’ budget plan, but the committee dropped the emergency preamble, allowing the budget to pass with a simple majority, essentially negating the need to get Republicans on board.

However, Sen. Rick Bennett (R-Oxford) added many of the Republican minority’s additional requests to a heavily amended version of a storm relief bill on Friday evening. The storm law was originally introduced by Mills, who sharp criticism of the amendment for bundling unrelated spending into what it planned to be a separate emergency measure to help rebuild after back-to-back storms this winter.

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In a bipartisan vote, the Senate approved the amended storm bill financing involved for a host of other issues that are already being addressed in separate bills this session, most notably mental health and nursing homes.

But On Tuesday evening, the House bypassed the Senate proposal by introducing its own amendment instead. The House change the bill returns almost entirely to the original version that was discussed – but removes the emergency clause from the bill.

This means the money won’t be distributed until July 1, when the new fiscal year begins, rather than immediately — at least if the Senate agrees. The bill is currently out of compliance and was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday morning.

“The Senate and the House of Representatives have two completely different views on this,” Bennett said Wednesday.

In her letter to the Legislature, Mills wrote that she would veto the bill if it reaches her desk as amended by the Senate.

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“The amendment added to my bill by the Senate and subsequently removed by the House of Representatives is a multimillion-dollar, last-minute amendment crafted outside of the budget process,” Mills wrote. “It is not consistent with the supplementary budget.”

Mills wrote that she will sign LD 2225 if it only includes the $60 million in storm relief, and reiterated that she will also sign the supplemental budget as passed by the Appropriations Committee, despite her worries on fiscal sustainability over the next two years.

When asked about Mills’ continued concerns about additional spending beyond what she proposed in the budget plan, Appropriations Committee co-chairwoman Melanie Sachs (D-Freeport) told Maine Morning Star that she stands by the budget as its committee has approved it. .

“We have worked in consultation with our colleagues and the Mills Administration to deliver a budget that meets our obligations to our Constitution and to Maine families and communities,” Sachs said.

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As of Wednesday afternoon, neither the House nor the Senate had voted on the budget.

The post Mills threatens to veto storm bill with additional spending appeared first on Maine Morning Star.

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