Maine Governor Mills Releases Largest Ever Budget Proposal

The Maine Writer
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Maine Governor Janet Mills has just released her budget proposal for the fiscal year 2024-2025. The budget is the largest in Maine state history, at a total of $10.3 billion. Mills also presented a supplemental budget for this current budget for the fiscal year 2022-2023. Mills says her budget is balanced and she will not raise taxes or touch the Rainy Day Fund.

The budget proposal includes:

  • $10.5 million to be used to expand preschool programs across the state.
  • $7.8 million to continue funding monthly salary supplements for childcare workers.
  • $15 million to offer two years of free college tuition to Maine's high school graduates at Maine community colleges through 2025.
  • $58 million to continue funding free school meals for students.
  • $101 million to continue to meet the obligations of the state to fund 55% of local education costs.
  • $41 million for a 4.5% increase for public higher education institutions, including the Maine Community College system, UMaine, and Maine Maritime Academy.
  • $10 million to increase the Maine State Grant Program from $2,500 to $3,000.
  • $78 million for funding for long-term care facilities and military veteran homes. This funding will also be used to expand and improve services for elderly Mainers and provide support for home-delivered meals.
  • $27 million to go towards improving services for Maine residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • $94 million for mental health and substance use disorder services.
  • $7 million for more detox beds, residential care, and prevention services.
  • $15 million for adoption assistance and foster care, which will provide greater reimbursement rates for foster family expenses.
  • $6 million for Maine hospitals to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and as an initial investment towards hospital rate reform.
  • $4 million will be used to continue to provide student loan repayment assistance for those healthcare professionals in medicine, dentistry, behavioral health, and nursing. Eligible healthcare professionals will be able to receive up to $75,000 in student loan debt relief, and nursing educators will be eligible for up to $40,000.
  • $30 million to expand affordable rental housing.
  • $400 million for the Maine Department of Transportation.
  • $26.8 million is to be used from the Liquor Operation Revenue Fund to pay off the outstanding debt for the hospital bond.
  • $14.3 million to upgrade National Guard facilities.
  • $3.3 million for climate-focused grants and incentive programs to help Maine communities plan for climate change, reduce carbon emissions, and transition to clean energy.
  • $6 million to detect and mitigate the effects of PFAS. This will include testing and sampling for PFAS in wildlife.
  • $13.2 million to be used to develop a tiered compensation system to increase the hourly rate for assigned legal counsel based on the complexity of the case.
  • $3.6 million to hire ten new public defenders.

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