Budget panel to meet at 4:30 p.m. today

AUGUSTA – Speaker Sara Gideon is reconvening the Committee of Conference, the six-member group charged with finalizing Maine’s budget. She is inviting Governor Paul LePage to formally present his new budget proposal. Late last evening, the governor gave an overview to Speaker Gideon, Senate President Mike Thibodeau and Sen. Troy Jackson at the Blaine House.

“Negotiations regarding this budget belong in the State House,” said Speaker Gideon. “I look forward to Governor LePage presenting his plan formally to the committee that is tasked with crafting this budget and ending this destructive shut down. As has been shown, this committee is able to produce the high-quality, bipartisan work necessary to close this budget. There is no time to waste, Maine must get back to work.”

Last Thursday, the committee of conference proposed a bipartisan compromise budget. This bill was enacted in the Republican controlled Senate (33-1), however failed to reach the two-thirds votes necessary for enactment in Maine House of Representatives. Under the direction of Governor LePage, 60 House Republicans failed to vote for the bipartisan proposal, ensuring a government shutdown.