When does state government shutdown talk become more than a budget negotiating ploy?

“Nothing much has changed” doesn’t make for a very good lead on a news story but when it comes to the state budget, we’ve been here before. A week after the Legislature’s budget committee gave up on trying to reach bipartisan compromise on the $6.8 billion state spending plan for the next two years, there […]

What to expect from Collins, King when they question Comey today

Good morning from Augusta, where we’ll have an eye on the busy Maine Legislature and another on Washington, D.C., where former FBI Director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee after President Donald Trump fired him in May. Comey previewed his testimony in a seven-page opening statement released by the committee on Wednesday. […]

Maine House Democrats offer to trim school aid surtax in budget impasse

Good morning from Augusta, where House Democrats have blinked in a standoff over education funding, offering an deal to increase the threshold for Maine’s surtax on high earners and lower it from 3 percent to 1.75 percent. Republicans are on the record as wanting the surtax gone. Progressives still want to keep it and Senate […]

Candidate Mayhew portrays herself as heir to LePage legacy

To the surprise of few in Maine’s political world, former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew entered the 2018 governor’s race this morning as a Republican. Though her official campaign was just announced, themes that we’ll likely be hearing for the next 17 months emerged this morning during a radio interview. As […]

Maine ethics watchdog questions casino referendum funding

Good morning from Augusta, where Maine’s ethics watchdog may soon begin an investigation into the bid for a new casino in York County by a group that has been giving them plenty to think about during the last few months. Staff at the Maine Ethics Commission will recommend at a June 9 meeting that commissioners […]

Maine’s budget panel seems poised to walk away without accord

When it comes to announcements about moving the state budget bill forward, caution is advisable. However, it’s reasonable to assume that the Appropriations Committee might finish its work on the $6.8 billion document based on announcements that they will do just that. The word came Thursday evening from the committee analyst that the remaining lines […]

Senate GOP’s $100 million school aid offer fails to break Maine budget impasse

Good morning from Augusta, where much of the attention right now is on Maine’s two-year budget, where a “huge gap” remains on education funding even after Senate Republicans came forward on Wednesday to propose $100 million in extra education funding. But the reception on that pivotal budget issue was more than frosty. Democrats pooh-poohed it […]

Maine budget negotiators remain far apart on school funding

Good morning from Augusta, where a Tuesday meeting of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee showed just how far apart Democrats and Republicans are on education funding with a key deadline on the state’s two-year budget looming in less than a week. After closed-door partisan caucuses over the Memorial Day weekend, the committee met yesterday to take […]

LePage rips GOP state senator over prison closure dispute

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Tuesday that members of the Legislature are reneging on a deal regarding the closure of the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, but didn’t provide many details. Noting that state government sends more aid to Washington County than it receives in revenue from Down East, LePage said during a radio interview Tuesday […]

What’s next for ranked-choice voting in Maine?

Good morning from Augusta, where the implementation of ranked-choice voting hangs in limbo. The system, which election reform advocates have called a “better way to vote,” could be headed back to voters or could die at the hands of the Legislature, depending on what happens with two 11th-hour bills allowed into the legislative process on […]