May 18, 2020
Today, Governor Janet Mills and U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden convened a Zoom conference call to discuss the State’s response to COVID-19 and the Congressional Delegation’s work in Congress to support the State’s efforts.
The Governor and Congressional Delegation specifically discussed the need for Federal aid to State and local governments. The conference call follows a recent letter from Governor Mills to the Congressional Delegation outlining the impact that COVID-19 is expected to have on State and local government and the services they provide to the people of Maine.
“I am grateful to have a close working relationship with Maine’s Congressional Delegation and am thankful for their ongoing efforts to support the State through their work in Congress,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Today, we discussed the need for additional direct Federal support to State and local governments, as well as flexibility for the funding already authorized. My Administration worked with the Legislature to take steps to safeguard Maine’s economy, but with all states facing reductions in revenue as a result of this virus, a strong Federal partnership will help Maine continue to protect public health and safety and spearhead an economic recovery. I look forward to continuing our constructive work in the weeks ahead to support Maine people and our economy.”
“Maine’s Congressional Delegation stands united in our effort to advocate for the interests of Maine people in Washington as we face the largest public health challenge in a century,” said Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Golden. “The coronavirus pandemic is an extreme and unexpected threat to our state’s health, economy, and government services, and we must work together to overcome these obstacles. During this crisis, the Delegation and the Governor are in close contact to ensure we are working together to address Maine’s most urgent needs. As Congress continues to map out top priorities in this recovery effort, our delegation will speak with one voice to make sure Maine people receive the resources they need to weather this storm.”
During the conference call, Governor Mills provided a situational update on the status of COVID-19 in Maine as well as the State’s ongoing efforts to respond to and mitigate its spread. The Governor discussed the letter she sent to the Congressional Delegation last week outlining the need for additional Federal support for State and local governments. The Congressional Delegation provided an update on their efforts in Congress to provide that relief. The Governor thanked the Congressional Delegation for their work to support the State and they pledged to continue to work together in the coming weeks and months.
Governor Mills, through the bipartisan National Governors Association, has repeatedly pressed Congress and the Trump Administration to provide robust and flexible federal relief to offset expected revenue shortfalls that every state is confronting. These actions come in the wake of other steps the Mills Administration and the Legislature have taken to prepare the State for the economic ramifications of COVID-19, including freezing all non-emergency spending and working in a bipartisan manner to revise and enact the supplemental budget. The $73 million revised proposal, which was $52 million less than originally proposed, prioritized initiatives related to COVID-19. The current projected balance of unappropriated surplus is $113 million over the biennium. The Budget Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund, through the enacted supplemental, stands at $257 million, which is an increase of more than $50 million since the Governor took office.