AUGUSTA – The phrase ‘Budget Battle” took on a new meaning Thursday.
For the past couple of months legislators were just arguing about Governor LePage’s proposed $6.7 million budget.
Now that the democrats presented their own budget proposal, battle lines are being drawn over whose budget is better.
Even as democrats unveiled what they called the “Opportunity Agenda,” republicans were in the audience taking notes on what they saw as problems with it. The democrats railed against the governor’s budget as they laid out the highlights of their plan for the state.
Speaker of The House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said “The more we learned. The more it became apparent the current budget is not reflective of our state or our people’s needs.”
The democrats said their proposal benefits Maine working families, unlike the governor’s budget.
Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, stated “In almost every imaginable way, the governor’s budget serves the interests of the wealthy and the powerful, while leaving the rest of us in the dust.”
Republicans, however, contend the democratic effort offers more of that party’s long-time formula.
House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said “We think we have a spending problem in Maine. Democrats think it’s a revenue problem. How do we simply raise more revenue?”
There are few things democrats and republican agree on right now.
Assistant House Minority Leader Ellis Espling, R-New Gloucester, added “We need to see results. We need to see reform. We need to see some things change. Instead of just throwing money at the same old problems.”
Republicans greeted the democrats proposed budget as enthusiastically as, or rather with as little enthusiasm as the democrats greeted Governor LePage’s budget a couple of months ago.
Now, both sides have about 60 days to reach some kind of agreement on what budget will go forward. Or what the budget will look like when it receives final approval from the legislature.