Maine lawmakers agree on state budget
AUGUSTA (WGME) - With only hours to spare before a government shutdown, lawmakers say they've come to an agreement on the state budget.
After days of tense negotiations, legislative leaders say the deal scraps a voter-approved surtax on high earners, which republicans wanted, but still puts millions more into education spending, which is what democrats wanted.
The Committee of Conference has voted 5 to 1 to send this revised budget to the full legislature to vote on Thursday. We're told lawmakers met twice Thursday in an attempt to avoid a government shutdown.
Special council members say the budget on the table is far from perfect, but it's something they could agree on.
It would eliminate the 3 percent voter-approved surtax on the wealthy and bring state education spending to $162 million.
It'll raise lodging tax in Maine from 9 to 10.5 percent.
It's what the House and Senate believe is a fair compromise.
Lawmakers say everyone can find something wrong with it, but in the end it's the best they've got.
"There are going to be people from both sides of the aisle that are not satisfied with the end product, but I think that same reality will exist if we don't do it tomorrow,” Senate President Michael Thibodeau said. “A week later we are still going to have that same reality where people will be disappointed with the compromise."