The Latest: Maine government shuts down after impasse

The Latest on legislative efforts to avoid a state government shutdown (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

Maine citizens will experience a partial state government shutdown after lawmakers failed to pass a new state budget.

The shutdown began early Saturday after rounds of budget votes failed Friday due to resistance from House Republicans.

The two-year, $7.1 billion budget would have eliminated a voter-approved 3 percent surtax on high earners to fund schools, provided $164 million in additional education funding and raised the state's lodging tax.

GOP Gov. Paul LePage and House Republicans want less spending, support for some policy initiatives that were rejected and an overall income tax cut.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon says she left a late-night meeting at LePage's residence in response to his "aggressive behavior" toward her.

LePage's office didn't immediately comment.


10:30 p.m.

Legislative leaders are meeting at GOP Gov. Paul LePage's residence to discuss a potential new budget plan with an hour and half to go before a partial state government shutdown begins.

Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau said the process of formally drafting the governor's ideas could take hours.

The Senate voted 33-1 to enact the budget after the House voted without the two-thirds support needed.

LePage earlier Friday criticized the budget's lack of overall income tax cuts. The governor has signed an emergency declaration for a partial state government shutdown effective at midnight.

His administration said it would continue to administer benefits programs and keep open law enforcement, state parks and corrections facilities.


8:30 p.m.

Maine residents may wake up with a partial government shutdown after resistance from House Republicans prevented enactment of a two-year budget.

The Maine House voted 87-60 to enact the budget on Friday night. But that is short of the two-thirds support needed.

Republican House Minority Leader Ken Fredette says that GOP Gov. Paul LePage is offering his own budget plan as an alternative. That plan has not been finalized yet, however, and lawmakers haven't reviewed it.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon has adjourned the House while lawmakers await LePage's budget bill.

The governor can submit a bill at any time.


5:45 p.m.

The Maine Senate has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a $7.1 billion, two-year budget proposal that some Democrats said they hated.

The Senate voted 34-1 Friday in favor of the budget, which now heads back to the House.

The budget needs buy-in from House Republicans to achieve the needed two-thirds support.

The proposal nixes a voter-approved, 3 percent income surtax on high earners to provide an estimated $320 million in school funding. The compromise adds $162 million in public K-12 classroom spending that's partly funded by an increase in the lodging tax.

Lawmakers face a midnight deadline for approving the budget and getting the signature of Republican Gov. Paul LePage to avoid a government shutdown.


4:40 p.m.

The Maine House has given an initial OK to a $7.1 billion, two-year budget despite Republican resistance.

The House voted 87-60 Friday in favor of the budget, which will now get an initial vote in the Senate where it's expected to receive strong support.

The budget needs two-thirds support in the next round of voting to be enacted.

A six-member committee late Thursday night voted 5-1 on a budget proposal that includes $162 million in additional public K-12 classroom spending and an increase in the state's lodging tax starting in October.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Friday said the budget has no prayer and that he won't sign it, holding up the budget for 10 days and shutting down state government.


1:30 p.m.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon says her party is focusing on passing a budget despite Maine Gov. Paul LePage's vow not to sign it.

Gideon says a government shutdown would make the Republican governor and the Legislature responsible for "damaging the lives of too many people in the state." She says it's important for Democratic and Republican lawmakers to come together to pass the budget on Friday.

Gideon says passage of the budget is "not an automatic" and she and colleagues are working with Republicans to make sure they have enough votes to get it passed. She declined to say if she thinks they have enough votes already.

Action on the budget proposal is expected to start around 2:30 p.m.


12:45 p.m.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he's not going to sign a budget compromise if lawmakers send it to his desk, setting state government on a path to shutting down at midnight.

The Republican chief executive accused state legislators of waiting to the last minute to approve a budget and "trying to put a gun to the governor's head."

He said he didn't like the way the deal was negotiated outside the normal Appropriations Committee process and doesn't like the budget proposal because it increases taxes. He accused lawmakers of compromising simply so they could go home for the Fourth of July.

Votes are expected Friday afternoon.

The governor said he intends to sit on the bill for the full 10 days allowed for review. That means the shutdown would last at least that long.


11:45 a.m.

With the clock ticking, Maine Senate Republicans are urging their colleagues in the House to approve a budget compromise.

Sen. Roger Katz, who helped negotiate the deal, said there's a lot for both sides to dislike but he's optimistic that it'll pass. The Augusta Republican said it's been "negotiated hard by conservative Republicans, liberal Democrats and everybody in between."

Rob Poindexter, spokesman for House Republicans, said the devil is in the details, and lawmakers want to review the language before voting.

Votes are expected Friday afternoon.

Lawmakers face a midnight deadline for approving the budget and getting the signature of Republican Gov. Paul LePage to avoid a government shutdown.


12:20 a.m.

Maine lawmakers are working down to the wire to pass a state budget before a midnight Friday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.

They have hours to vote on a budget proposal that received a 5-1 vote late Thursday night by a group of six lawmakers.

Legislative leaders had been meeting behind closed doors to hammer out a deal. Months of hearings had failed to result in a unified agreement. Much of the discord involved funding for education.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon said lawmakers plan to vote on the $7.1 billion, two-year spending plan Friday.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has announced that a shutdown would not close state parks, correctional facilities, psychiatric hospitals or law enforcement agencies.