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Appropriations Committee votes to approve supplemental budget

The committee voted 8 to 5 Thursday night to approve a supplemental budget that the Maine Legislature will now vote on next week.
Credit: AP

MAINE, USA — The Maine Legislature will vote next week on a package of budget and tax changes for the rest of the current fiscal year, but a party-line split could prevent the plan from passing.

The Appropriations Committee voted 8 to 5 Thursday night, along party lines, to approve a supplemental budget. It adjusts spending for state programs in the budget that runs until the end of June.

The plan includes a tax deduction for Mainers who collected unemployment due to the COVID pandemic. Democrats on the committee said it will benefit about 100,000 Maine workers, saving them $300 or more on their income taxes.

The budget also eliminates any tax on federal Paycheck Protection Program benefits for more than 28,000 small businesses.

Republicans pushed repeatedly for those businesses to also get the same tax relief and voted against the plan as a result.

That sets the stage for a vote in the full Legislature next week, which will require a two-thirds majority vote. Democrats won’t be able to reach that number of votes without some Republican support, meaning party leaders may need to figure out a compromise.

According to a press release, that budget also provides $30 million in state and federal funds for direct care workers for the elderly and the disabled, and also provides added funding for a new child welfare computer system.