Government to shut down if no budget deal by July 1

Legislators have to reach a deal on a state budget, or the government shuts down in 10 days. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) – Legislators have to reach a deal on a state budget, or the government shuts down in 10 days.

Wednesday, the legislature made an expensive decision for all of us, extending their budget deadline.

With negotiations stalled on a new state budget, lawmakers in the House and Senate voted Wednesday morning to extend the legislative session.

Ramona Welton, head of the State Employees Union, says if a budget is not in place by July 1, state government will come to a screeching halt, like it did in 1991.

"In '91, it affected construction. It affected state parks. This is the 4th of July weekend we're talking about,” Welton said. "The parks could be gated."

Democratic and republican leaders don't even agree on where negotiations stand.

One of the biggest sticking points is the 3 percent surtax on the state’s highest earners, which voters approved that and education reforms.

"Do the job,” Welton said. “Create a budget that prevents a shutdown."

Governor LePage is now telling state agencies to prepare for a partial shutdown, meaning essential services only. The governor says he will not sign a budget that's bad for Maine just to avoid a shutdown.

Lawmakers officially extended the session up to five days to give them more time to reach a budget deal.

Each day costs taxpayers about $20,000.

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