On Tuesday, April 19th, the 130th Maine Legislature enacted a supplemental budget. The governor signed the supplemental budget into law the next day.
The Supplemental Budget will:
• Return more than half of the surplus—a total of $729 million—to around 858,000 Maine taxpayers in the form of $850 checks—a total of $729 million in direct tax relief;
• Exempt additional Maine retirement pension from income taxes, improving the deductions from $10,000 to $25,000 in tax year 2022, and by increased amounts over time. This will provide an average tax cut of $560 in the first year;
• Provide $7 million to ensure stable housing by increasing the maximum benefit of Maine’s Property Tax Fairness Credit;
• Provide $27.6 million by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit to working Maine people and families;
• Dedicate $20 million to the General Fund to provide two years of free community college to all students of high school graduating classes affected by the pandemic;
• Overhaul the Education Opportunity Tax Credit and transform it into a tool to retire student debt for graduates and help employers to draw people to live and work in Maine;
• Prevent tuition hikes across the University of Maine System;
• Provide more than $12 million to increase pay for child care workers and early childhood educators;
• And keep the Budget Stabilization Fund, also called the Rainy Day Fund, at $493 million.
While the Second Regular Session of the 130th Maine Legislature concluded most of its work by the statutory adjournment date of April 20th, a one-day extension, scheduled April 25th, was agreed to in order to allow the four caucus’ legislative priorities on the Special Appropriations Table to be enacted.
Governor Mills has until Friday, May 6th to sign or veto the bills sent to her by the legislature before April 25th’s adjournment.
Legislators will return to Augusta on May 9th to address any potential gubernatorial vetoes. After taking up any vetoes from the governor, the legislature will adjourn, sine die (“without day”).