Maine should work well for everyone. If our state government does something, it should do it well without wasting time or money.
The most important issue our next legislation will consider is how to recover from the coronavirus. Let us all say a prayer that we may be through the worst of it by the time our next legislature convenes! Assuming epidemiology projections are accurate, by 2021 we will be on our way to community immunity and ready to rebuild our economy.
We may still be operating in emergency mode next year, in which case our budget process will be simply rushing around putting out fires.
But if we are able to recover quickly from the economic impact of coronavirus, and we have the opportunity to take a rational approach to state spending, my priority as your legislator will be to change how the state does its budget, to prioritize education so the Governor and Legislature working together can meet their responsibility to provide funding to every school district in Maine at the 55% level determined by statewide referendum.
Education is an investment in our shared future, ensuring that we have a well-trained workforce for our economy and well-informed citizens for our democracy. Maine voters have repeatedly told our legislature that we want the state to pay 55% of the cost of education, and the rest we will pay through local property and excise taxes. Beyond just the good government principle of respecting the express wishes of the people, much of our local government budget is tied to how our state government funds education. We can make our whole system work better, now and for the future, by making education our first investment when we decide our state's biennial budget.