GOP “Surprise Vote” Claims Not True

AUGUSTA – Top Democratic leaders in the State Legislature issued the following statement on the budget-writing committee’s vote yesterday to restore municipal revenue sharing cuts.

“Since day one, Democrats have made clear that keeping our promise to our towns was a top priority and one that we would address with urgency. On Monday afternoon, we told Republican leaders in no uncertain terms that we would vote on a bill to keep that promise,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick. “We have an obligation to the towns we represent and our constituents to prevent spiking property tax hikes and cuts to schools and public safety.”

Under the LePage administration, state revenues have increased, but aid to towns, or revenue sharing funds to towns, has plummeted. If the Legislature does not blunt these proposed cuts, aid to towns will decline by 79 percent by 2015.

“Towns across our state are financially stretched. They came to us with a problem that needed to be solved. This measure to restore $40 million in revenue sharing was wholeheartedly supported by towns across our state, regardless of political affiliation. Democratic committee members proudly took their vote yesterday; a vote that keeps the state’s 40 year promise and will help prevent massive property tax spikes and cuts to essential services,” said Senate President Justin Alfond. “In this business, you have to stand up and be counted. And the Republicans didn’t do that. Worse, they lied. We expect to have policy disagreements but not this: they have disparaged the integrity of many hard working lawmakers and we cannot sit quietly as they attempt to do so. Mainers are counting on us to work together and do better.”