Lawmakers still struggle to find a budget deal

Speaker and Senate President on possible shutdown

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Legislative leaders continued meeting Monday, but appeared no closer to an agreement on a new, two year state budget.

The Legislature faces a June 30 deadline to have a new budget in place. If they cannot achieve that, there will be  a partial shutdown of state government starting July first.

Leaders of both parties say the major issues remain the same as they have been: added school funding and repeal of the 3% income tax surtax passed by Maine voters last November. That tax was passed to raise added money for K-12 schools, but Republicans claim it is already hurting the state's economy. Supporters of the tax say it was the will of a majority of voters, and therefore should not be repealed.

Democratic leaders have said they are willing to repeal the tax, but insist there must be significant new spending on education to make up for it.

Those issues have been known for months, but continued Monday to defy efforts to reach compromise. However, the special  conference committee formed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House to negotiate a compromise, is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning.

It isn't clear if there is a compromise plan on which to vote, or if the meeting is simply a procedural step.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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