LePage, Republicans Set to Enact Most Extreme State Budget in the Country

With a planned party-line budget vote today, Maine Republicans are set to take an historic action. By ratifying Governor Paul LePage's deep cuts to important health care programs and his giant new tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthy, they are set to make Maine's economic policy the most ideological and extreme of any state in the nation.

"The Republicans' actions today are both ideologically extreme and morally reprehensible," said Maine People's Alliance executive director Jesse Graham. "No other state in the country has cut so deep into programs for those who are suffering the most while at the same time giving such large tax breaks to those who are the most well-off."

Many states have cut back during the recession, but only a few have cut so deeply into vital health care and assistance services as has Maine. Today's vote, for instance, will cut foster care, remove seniors from the Drugs for the Elderly Program and shut down head start programs across Maine.

Where Maine stands alone is in the area of new tax cuts. Only a handful of states in the country have cut taxes during the economic recession and none have given the wealthy as big a hand-out as has Maine.[1] The income and estate tax cuts are expected to cost the state $200 million in the current biennium and $400 million in the next, with more than 50% of the benefits going to the wealthiest 10%.[2] That's larger as a share of government revenue than cuts enacted by any other state in the country. In Florida, for instance, where Governor Rick Scott has often been cited for being ideologically extreme, new tax cuts will cost the state only $12 million in 2012 and $29 million in subsequent years.

"Today, Maine completes the sharpest right-turn of any state in the Country," said Graham. "These policies don't represent Maine values and we're going to make sure that voters in November understand exactly how extreme their Representatives have been."

1. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3550
2. Maine center for Economic Policy - http://www.mecep.org/view.asp?news=1417