Budget talks resume at the state house as shutdown starts

 AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER)--Maine state government is in its first shutdown in 26 years. The Governor issued a proclamation late Friday night, declaring an emergency and ordering certain state agencies and staff to continue providing key services, such as law enforcement, state ferries and benefit payments for unemployment, Medicaid and some other welfare programs.

Aside from those, and some online services, state government will be closed until a new state budget is voted in. Thousands of state workers will be out of work and not paid during that time.

   Saturday morning, a crowd of those workers and supporters descended on the State House to show Legislators their anger over the shutdown and failure to agree on a new budget.

"I'm here because I'm pissed off...about the Republicans in the House of Representatives not understanding what a compromise means." Jonathan O'Donnell, Gardiner, works for Maine CDC

 "I'm proud of my fellow citizens, my fellow union members. I'm disappointed that we are being held hostage. I just want the governor to realize there are tens of thousands of people who are affected by his decisions." Robin Uptown-Sukeforth Litchfield

    That budget passed by a nearly unanimous vote in the Senate but did not get the needed two-thirds majority vote in the House, because House Republicans would not support the $7.1 billion dollar plan. Those House GOP members have been working closely with Governor Paul LePage, who has been sharply critical of the budget deal.  

RELATED STORYThe State of Maine list of state facilities and programs that remain open

A last minute budget proposal from the Governor was offered by Republican leader Rep. Ken Fredette Friday night, but after a meeting at the Blaine House, the Governor and top Legislative leaders were unable to come to terms with the changes he wants.

  Fredette said early Saturday morning that he believes those leaders and the Governor can now get together and negotiate a plan they can all support, which could be passed, signed and end the shutdown. What the agreement would be, and when hen that might happen is uncertain.

 

A number of critical state government services will keep functioning, despite the shutdown. This means some state workers will remain on the job under an emergency declaration by the Governor.

You can see the full list here.

NEWS CENTER is tracking the latest developments on the State of Maine government shutdown.

Check back often for updates.

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