A version of this article was originally published in The Daily Brief, our Maine politics newsletter. Sign up here for daily news and insight from politics editor Michael Shepherd.
Even when one party puts together a state spending plan, many leave the deal disappointed.
While Gov. Janet Mills called the budget she signed into law last week “historic” for items including a new paid leave program and $100 million for housing, lots of Democratic priorities were left out.
The context: Top among them was an item that one source said Democrats were negotiating on up until the last minute on Wednesday afternoon: a hike in Maine’s $40,000 minimum teacher salary sponsored by Sen. Teresa Pierce, D-Falmouth.
It ended up being left out of the $40 million in additional bills that the Legislature’s appropriations committee put into the budget deal. Even though the Mills administration supported it at first, the price tag of roughly $9.5 million proved to be too high to get in. The governor’s proposed increase in a grant for Maine students in college here was left out.
Other priorities that Mills resisted did not make it in. That included a minimum wage hike to $15 hourly that cleared the Legislature last month. It is a victory for business groups that had their concerns on paid leave and offshore wind mirrored by the governor early in the session until she cut deals with fellow Democrats on both topics.
Smaller-time measures were left out as well, including a sales tax exemption on diapers and one that would provide period products in Maine schools.
What’s next: Nothing is dead forever in Augusta, and these bills will be carried over to next year. Sponsors will hope there is another budget that they can add these to. But the process is a reminder that even one-party rule does not get legislators all they want, and it can still be hard to pass a bill.