Work to Address Remaining Budget Gap Begins Immediately

AUGUSTA – Today, Speaker Sara Gideon formally announced that outstanding issues with the 2017-2019 biennial state budget would be heard by a Committee of Conference. Lawmakers, thus far, have been unable to reach a budget agreement that will garner the necessary two-thirds majorities needed to pass a state budget by June 30, 2017. With the deadline fast approaching, pressure to complete the budget is increasing and a major disagreement regarding a voter-approved increase in education funding still exists.

Joint Rules of the Maine Legislature allow a committee of conference to be convened when there is a disagreement between the House and Senate over a particular bill. According to the rules, the committee includes three members of each chamber who voted on the prevailing side of a bill.The committee will be comprised of three members of the House appointed by Speaker Sara Gideon and three members of the Senate appointed by Senate President Michael Thibodeau.

House members serving are:

Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport)
Rep. Aaron Frey (D-Bangor)
Rep. Tom Winsor (R-Norway)

“Democrats are committed to enacting a responsible budget, that works within existing resources,” said Speaker Gideon. “We are on the record of where we stand and will continue fight for a budget that represents the opportunities Mainers demanded. In order to continue to do our work, to serve the people of Maine, and to close a budget, we must move this process forward. We must continue our legacy of leadership and we must close this budget before June 30.”

An organizational meeting of the committee will be held Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. in Room
334, Legislative Council Chamber, of the State House.