Gov. Janet Mills addressed a joint session of the Legislature on Monday night to current her $eight billion budget proposal for the two-year cycle that begins in July 1. Here’s a draft version of that speech offered by her workplace:
Mr. President; Madam Speaker; Chief Justice Saufley; Chiefs Francis, Nicholas, Sabattis, and Paul; Ambassador Dana;
Secretary of State Dunlap; Treasurer Beck; Lawyer Common Frey; Auditor Buckley;
Honorable Members of the 129th Legislature;
Three months have handed since the basic election.
Two months since the Legislature was sworn in.
Almost all our cupboard members are confirmed, sworn and certified. They’re here tonight.
We are attending to work.
I need to take a moment to thank the individuals of Maine for the outpouring of heat you might have proven me in the final month.
I’ve felt in my coronary heart the easiest of Maine from all over Maine – the power, the power, the hope of Maine individuals.
At this time we dig out from tunnels of snow, discovering the mild of our days to be longer, our darkish nights shorter, and we sense that nature and the world are shifting toward spring.
We look after our neighbors, previous and new, frail or robust.
We care about those that need the most, those that work the hardest and people who pay the most.
At present we take account of the past and plan for a brand new, and better future.
Our unemployment fee is low. However our financial system has grown extra slowly than that of the United States and New England since 2010.
Our poverty price is under the national average. Nonetheless 1/sixth of our youngsters reside in poverty.
Our per capita revenue is rising; however it is still the lowest in New England, as is our common family revenue.
Maine’s public excessive faculties rank fifth in the country. But the proportion of our grownup inhabitants with postsecondary levels is nicely under the New England common.
The standard of our health care ranks 10th in the country. But the public health of our citizens is ranked 33rd in the country.
Maine has many belongings.
Nevertheless it also has many challenges.
We can’t afford to stand still.
This budget strikes us ahead.
The budget is about Health. It’s about Alternative. It is about Prosperity. It’s about Schooling.
It is, in sum, about HOPE.
Health care is a serious focus of this budget, and it is a very important part of shifting our financial system forward.
You’ll have heard that more than Four,000 individuals are newly enrolled in MaineCare since January – individuals from all across the state.
We intend that expanded MaineCare will assist as much as 70,000 people who now lack reasonably priced medical insurance, so that they will get hold of preventive care, they will get hold of early remedy for illness, they will stay in the workforce, and they’ll never again need to face the selection between medical care and bankruptcy.
These people will not be the only ones who can be helped.
Expanding MaineCare and enabling individuals to have medical insurance will even help our rural hospitals – which are some of the largest employers of their communities, typically the only supply of care, and sometimes on the edge of financial collapse – because enlargement will scale back the amount of uncompensated care they are asked to offer.
In flip, this can decrease the inflation pressures on personal medical insurance policies.
We anticipate that this in turn will scale back the value of medical insurance to small companies, self-employed people and staff – whose insurance coverage charges are primarily making up the difference for hospitals’ uncompensated care.
But that isn’t sufficient. We’ll work with the Bureau of Insurance and the small business group to seek out further methods to lower the value of medical insurance for small business.
Finally, MaineCare enlargement will assist Maine’s financial system.
It is going to convey $500 million in federal funds to Maine. That’s like getting a brand new contract for a ship at Tub Iron Works yearly – besides that the jobs might be statewide.
This influx of funds is projected to create 6,000 further jobs from Sanford to Calais to Fort Kent.
All of these staff can pay revenue and gross sales tax, which can in turn assist the state’s bottom line.
That is economic improvement on a large scale.
To help MaineCare enlargement, we embrace $147 million in the state budget over the next two years – a figure arrived at based mostly on the unbiased, nonpartisan evaluation of the Manatt report.
We are also budgeting for a Medicaid Reserve Account of $29 million to cover any contingencies.
These budget gadgets are funded by regular revenue and gross sales tax revenues as predicted by the unbiased Revenue Forecasting Committee.
Meaning no new taxes or fees.
That $147 million will set off round a billion further federal dollars for Maine.
It’s the discount of a century.
Nearly as good stewards, we’ll constantly evaluate and handle the MaineCare program and evaluate the results of enlargement on:
— Health outcomes for our residents,
— Hospital finances,
— Personal medical insurance rates, and
— Job creation.
This budget additionally addresses other public well being challenges dealing with our state.
Among the most crucial of these challenges is the opioid epidemic.
This week Lawyer Basic Frey launched statistics displaying 282 drug overdose deaths for the first nine months of last yr. That’s one overdose dying per day.
But the numbers do not inform the entire story.
One of these individuals was 21-year previous Sean M. Yankowsky of Bangor.
He died ten months after his brother, his only sibling and his greatest pal, 25-year previous Adam Yankowsky, died from ingesting heroin laced with fentanyl.
Adam had overdosed before.
He had been revived, Narcaned twice on one event, and despatched residence with none steerage about what he might do subsequent or the place he might get assist.
Adam’s and Sean’s father, Maine State Police Detective David Yankowsky, and their mom, Shelly Yankowsky of Glenburn, be a part of us this evening.
They now work with the Bangor Area Recovery Network to assist others battle the sickness that claimed their two youngsters.
I need to thank them for his or her courage — the courage to hold on, the braveness to talk up, the courage to assist so many others. They are saving lives.
Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Baker additionally joins us.
Matt is a 30-year veteran of regulation enforcement.
He has informed hushed audiences of how he tried to revive his own 23-year previous daughter, Ronni, after she overdosed on heroin.
Coming residence at 2:30 a.m. after working the late shift one night time in 2015, Deputy Baker discovered his daughter in the toilet, slumped over the rest room, not shifting.
Her face was blue and she or he was unresponsive.
“I felt her heart beat once and I started CPR,” Baker stated. “Basically, my daughter died when I was doing CPR on her.”
“About three hours later,” he stated, “I watched them wheel my daughter out on a gurney. This was the daughter who used to sit on my lap and talk about fishing with me. Now she sits on my mantle.”
At this time he is sharing this terrible experience in the hope that others will pay attention and study, as he brings up the little woman Ronni left behind.
Matt, we’re listening.
Additionally here tonight are Robert Fickett and Sharon Fields from Bangor. Both of them are in recovery.
Bob coordinates the Recovery Coaches and Sharon coordinates the volunteers for the Bangor Area Restoration Network or BARN.
They’re success stories. They are giving back to their group. They’re helping others and saving lives. Thanks, Bob and Sharon.
For David and Shelley, Matt, Bob and Sharon, and so many families like theirs around the state – help is on the means.
Along with making more providers out there via MaineCare, and with federal monies at present obtainable and with $5.5 million in non-tax dollars on this budget, we’ll present:
— Coaching of restoration coaches for our emergency rooms;
— Remedy based mostly on a regional “hub and spokes” model,
— Buy and distribution of Narcan at each applicable venue,
— Medicine Assisted Remedy,
— Assets for buddies and families of individuals with substance use disorder, and
— Strong prevention and schooling efforts to stem the tide of this epidemic.
I’m pleased with the progress so far on these initiatives underneath the leadership of our Director of Opioid Response, Gordon Smith. Thanks, Gordon.
These initiatives supplement the vigorous efforts of regulation enforcement in any respect ranges to stem the tide of drug trafficking into Maine.
We suggest different public well being measures:
— expanding access to low value medicine for the elderly and disabled –That is only the first step of many we’ll take to help our seniors in the coming years;
— investing $10 million from the Fund for Wholesome Maine for tobacco and nicotine prevention measures. It is essential to address the dramatic improve in vaping and different nicotine use amongst our younger individuals.
— filling the vacancies in our public well being nursing corps, as the Legislature already directed us to do;
— filling the longstanding important vacancies in the Maine Centers for Illness Management and Prevention – an agency that has seen a 25 % reduction in employees in recent times;
— And for our veterans, we absolutely fund the Bureau of Veterans Providers outreach program to stop homelessness and starvation among those that served our country with distinction. To those heroes I say, we’ll never forget you.
In these methods and lots of others, we’re rebuilding our public well being infrastructure.
We are also rebuilding our schooling infrastructure.
The Division of Schooling has suffered from years of neglect.
As of last December, it took up to six months for the understaffed Department to simply certify new academics who have been ready to start out work or to recertify those already working.
That is unacceptable.
With staffing changes this past month we now have already decreased that wait time to less than six weeks.
And we won’t stop there.
The Maine Department of Schooling will as soon as once more be a place that leads, evokes and absolutely helps our faculties, academics, and college students.
This budget begins making pre-kindergarten packages obtainable to every Four-year previous in Maine.
This can be a voluntary, four-year program, the initial phases are included in this budget.
We also provide $18.5 million to Baby Improvement Providers to help the wants of our youngest and neediest youngsters.
For kindergarten by way of highschool, we offer a further $126 million over the biennium.
This brings the state’s share of public schooling funding to just about 51 % of Essential Packages and Providers (EPS).
Whenever you embrace the state’s funds toward the instructor pension fund, the state’s share of Okay-12 schooling is 55 %.
This budget invests in recruitment and retention to ensure that academics in Maine won’t be pressured to go away the state for a dwelling wage.
It is time to deal with our academics with the respect and dignity they deserve.
This budget ensures that no instructor in Maine will make lower than $40,000 a yr.
Tonight, we’re delighted that Maine’s 2019 instructor of the yr might be a part of us – Joseph Hennessey from Piscataquis Group High Faculty in Guilford.
Joe teaches English and has created imaginative curricula, literature-based, lively studying, analytical writing, and public talking.
Thanks on your service, Joe.
The budget additionally will increase funding for grownup schooling and career technical high faculties so that each Mainer can compete for expert jobs in an ever-changing financial system.
Tonight, we additionally welcome the 2018 Career Technical Schooling teacher-of-the-year in the gallery – Russell Clark from the Sanford Regional Technical Middle.
Russ teaches engineering and architectural design and exposes his students to the exciting things you are able to do with computer-aided-design (CAD) tools, 3D printers, and a laser cutter and engraver.
Thanks, Russ, for inspiring Maine’s subsequent era of architects and engineers.
Maine won’t succeed if our graduates are burdened by debt and if adults can’t access persevering with schooling.
The budget subsequently increases funding for the College of Maine System, for the Group Schools, and for the Maine Maritime Academy.
And it offers $3 million extra for scholarships via the Maine State Grant Program to stop college students from going into debt.
Our investments in Okay-12 schooling are meant to assist local faculties and to assist native property taxpayers.
However we propose to do extra for taxpayers.
The budget increases revenue sharing annually of the biennium.
It also will increase reimbursements to municipalities for the homestead tax aid program and for catastrophe assistance.
It supplies extra money for county jails.
Taken collectively – extra native faculty assist, more income sharing, extra homestead reimbursements, more catastrophe help, extra money for the jails – the internet result’s aid for property taxpayers.
We are also investing in infrastructure.
Over the subsequent two years, we’ll pave about 2,000 miles of roadway, fix or exchange about 135 bridges, and spend money on rail, public transit, and seaports.
This might be supported by about $531 million of devoted state Freeway Fund revenue, leveraged federal revenues, and $200 million of state bonds.
To broaden the financial system, the budget:
— Invests $2 million in broadband, designed to draw down much bigger quantities of federal money to Maine;
— Funds $5 million for rural improvement; and
— Directs funding to market all elements of Maine not simply as a vacationer vacation spot, but as places to stay and work and raise a family.
Our Division of Economic and Group Improvement appears forward to leading in the creation of an extended vary economic plan for our state.
The world is altering. We have to outline Maine’s place in the new world.
We’ll work with the personal sector and with groups like the Maine Improvement Basis to determine our state’s many belongings and build upon them to foster and appeal to:
— Sustainable farming, diversified fisheries and progressive forest products businesses
— Clear power producers
— Excessive tech industries
— Knowledge facilities
— Places for individuals to work remotely, and
— A top quality of life that may appeal to younger working households again to our state.
The budget also allows for bonding for such things as broadband and Land for Maine’s Future, and different applicable investments, and we look ahead to working with the Legislature on a bond package deal that absolutely meets the state’s needs.
Local weather change is a precedence challenge. Our Workplace of Coverage Innovation and the Future is getting ready a local weather agenda which I’ll announce in the coming weeks.
Suffice it to say, we’ll make each effort, without further common fund dollars:
— to help the University of Maine in the research and improvement of offshore wind power;
— to offer incentives for group and residential solar energy;
— to advertise power effectivity and weatherization;
— to increase the use of heat pumps;
— to build charging stations and incentives for electric automobiles;
— and to help local and state government grow to be “green.”
Right now, Hannah Pingree, who leads the Office of Coverage Innovation and the Future, is working with Effectivity Maine to develop a program to advertise the installation of 100,000 warmth pumps in businesses and houses by 2025.
That alone would save $30 to $60 million annually in heating payments, and decrease carbon emissions by 100,000 to 200,000 metric tons a yr and wean our state off fossil fuels. We look ahead to unveiling the details of this effort shortly.
Our budget bolsters public safety:
By beefing up security in courtrooms to make sure the safety of those looking for access to justice.
By authorizing fifteen further state troopers and sergeants to make sure a 24-hour police presence statewide, including in all rural areas.
By including seven positions to the Maine State Police Pc Crimes Unit. There may be no more essential function of government than to protect our youngsters from violent predators, whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever their evil methods.
By adding a new place in the Lawyer Common’s Office to train investigators to detect and pursue those that prey upon our seniors and steal their hard-earned savings.
And we fulfill our promise to the good individuals of Washington County to fund a correctional facility there.
We’ll proceed to work with group groups to fight the scourge of domestic violence.
We’ll not reject beneficial federal assets for very important providers — together with funds for substance use disorder remedy, life-saving most cancers screenings and Alzheimer’s remedy, vitamin help for hungry families, youngsters’s medical insurance, the forest legacy program, and transportation funding.
By some estimates, Maine has turned down virtually $2 billion in federal cash in recent times. This is cash that Maine individuals have paid in federal taxes that isn’t being returned to them, however is going to different states as an alternative.
My Administration will work with the Congressional delegation to determine every source of advantages to which the Maine individuals are entitled and ensure our individuals get their justifiable share.
So that is our budget.
There will probably be those that say this budget is government spending run amuck, and there can be those who say we should spend increasingly more. I respectfully disagree.
Here’s what I heard on the campaign path final yr.
— Maine individuals need higher well being care.
— Maine individuals want better faculties.
— Maine individuals need better jobs and higher economic alternative.
— Maine individuals don’t need larger taxes.
This can be a pragmatic, common sense budget that lives inside our means and delivers what Maine individuals want.
It’s based mostly on the projections of unbiased specialists on the Revenue Forecasting Committee of the previous administration who additionally say that income past this biennium is predicted to be $8.three billion.
That is tons of of hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what this budget proposes. When taken in combination with the strong Wet Day fund that we’ve got protected, Maine is well-positioned in the years to return.
Briefly, this budget is sustainable.
This budget is balanced, as the Constitution requires; it makes accountable investments to deal with critical challenges dealing with our state; and it honors the will of the individuals.
For you, the members of the 129th Maine Legislature, I welcome your ideas, considerations, and ideas in the coming months.
Having sat in these chairs, I know that you’ll deliver the considerations of your constituents to bear on this budget, and I look ahead to that productive dialogue.
On this budget there are not any tax increases.
In this budget there are not any gimmicks.
On this budget there are not any adverse balances.
This budget is pro-growth. It is pro-jobs. It’s pro-people.
This budget is for the small business battling health care prices and for employers in search of a talented workforce.
This budget is for the mother and father who have misplaced their youngsters to overdose and who at the moment are elevating their grandchildren.
This budget is for the families, youngsters and seniors dwelling with out primary health care.
This budget is for state staff who want the assets to get things achieved for Maine individuals.
This budget is for the academics who’re paying for college supplies and meals for his or her college students out of their very own pockets, whereas incomes salaries that are not commensurate to the worth of their work.
This budget is for Maine’s cities and for the property taxpayers who have had to decide up the tab for issues state government ought to have been paying for.
This budget is about well being, opportunity, prosperity, and schooling.
It is about HOPE.
It is about help for many who have been left behind.
For academics like you, Russ and Joe, it’s about assist on your faculties, your students and your colleagues throughout the state.
And for you, Shelly and David, for Matt, Bob and Sharon, and for hundreds of different families, family members and unsung survivors, there’s HOPE. I promise you. There’s hope.
Finally, thanks to all the individuals of Maine whom I really like with all my coronary heart.