Budget fails to get ⅔ majority in House; revised budget said to be in works

WCSH Breaking News

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP/WCSH/WLBZ) — Latest on legislative efforts to avoid a state government shutdown:

8:15 p.m.

The proposed budget passed the House, but without enough votes to meet the two-thirds requirement, so it fails.

Gov. LePage has drafted a revised budget, which will be submitted right away. Word is Rep. Fredette wants to sponsor in the legislature as an alternative.

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5:45 p.m.

The Maine Senate has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a $7.1 billion, two-year budget proposal that some Democrats said they hated.

The Senate voted 34-1 Friday in favor of the budget, which now heads back to the House.

The budget needs buy-in from House Republicans to achieve the needed two-thirds support.

The proposal nixes a voter-approved, 3 percent income surtax on high earners to provide an estimated $320 million in school funding. The compromise adds $162 million in public K-12 classroom spending that's partly funded by an increase in the lodging tax.

Lawmakers face a midnight deadline for approving the budget and getting the signature of Republican Gov. Paul LePage to avoid a government shutdown.

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4:40 p.m.

The Maine House has given an initial OK to a $7.1 billion, two-year budget despite Republican resistance.

The House voted 87-60 Friday in favor of the budget, which will now get an initial vote in the Senate where it's expected to receive strong support.

The budget needs two-thirds support in the next round of voting to be enacted.

A six-member committee late Thursday night voted 5-1 on a budget proposal that includes $162 million in additional public K-12 classroom spending and an increase in the state's lodging tax starting in October.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Friday said the budget has no prayer and that he won't sign it, holding up the budget for 10 days and shutting down state government.

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1:30 p.m.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon says her party is focusing on passing a budget despite Maine Gov. Paul LePage's vow not to sign it.

Gideon says a government shutdown would make the Republican governor and the Legislature responsible for "damaging the lives of too many people in the state." She says it's important for Democratic and Republican lawmakers to come together to pass the budget on Friday.

Gideon says passage of the budget is "not an automatic" and she and colleagues are working with Republicans to make sure they have enough votes to get it passed. She declined to say if she thinks they have enough votes already.

Action on the budget proposal is expected to start around 2:30 p.m.

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12:45 p.m.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he's not going to sign a budget compromise if lawmakers send it to his desk, setting state government on a path to shutting down at midnight.

The Republican chief executive accused state legislators of waiting to the last minute to approve a budget and "trying to put a gun to the governor's head."

He said he didn't like the way the deal was negotiated outside the normal Appropriations Committee process and doesn't like the budget proposal because it increases taxes. He accused lawmakers of compromising simply so they could go home for the Fourth of July.

Votes are expected Friday afternoon.

The governor said he intends to sit on the bill for the full 10 days allowed for review. That means the shutdown would last at least that long.

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11:45 a.m.

With the clock ticking, Maine Senate Republicans are urging their colleagues in the House to approve a budget compromise.

Sen. Roger Katz, who helped negotiate the deal, said there's a lot for both sides to dislike but he's optimistic that it'll pass. The Augusta Republican said it's been "negotiated hard by conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats and everybody in between."

Rob Poindexter, spokesman for House Republicans, said the devil is in the details, and lawmakers want to review the language before voting.

Votes are expected Friday afternoon.

Lawmakers face a midnight deadline for approving the budget and getting the signature of Republican Gov. Paul LePage to avoid a government shutdown.

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12:20 a.m.

Maine lawmakers are working down to the wire to pass a state budget before a midnight Friday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.

They have hours to vote on a budget proposal that received a 5-1 vote late Thursday night by a group of six lawmakers.

Legislative leaders had been meeting behind closed doors to hammer out a deal. Months of hearings had failed to result in a unified agreement. Much of the discord involved funding for education.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon said lawmakers plan to vote on the $7.1 billion, two-year spending plan Friday.

Copyright 2017 AP and WCSH/WLBZ


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