Maine’s government shutdown entered its third day Monday, July 3, 2017, as union members hold a rally across from the Maine State House in Augusta. 

Updated 1:59 p.m.: AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine’s partial government shutdown stretched in to its third day Monday with state employees and union activists calling for Republicans to support a budget compromise that could end the stalemate.

The state Legislature failed to enact a budget Friday, causing the shutdown. The Legislature has a chance to vote on a new spending plan Monday, after a budget panel reached a late agreement on Sunday.

The new proposal hangs on to an increase in the state’s lodging tax, which could make it unpalatable to House Republicans and GOP Gov. Paul LePage. But, Democrats and unions said the standoff has gone on too long and it’s time to reopen Maine.

The Maine House approved the proposal by a count of 92-54 on Monday. It now moves to the Senate, where it’s expected to pass. The House will need 101 votes to pass the budget on its second vote.

“This is about getting a job done,” said Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills, a LePage foe, to a crowd of supporters. “Make the House Republicans do the right thing. There’s nothing to be debating anymore.”

Monday was the first day the shutdown was tangible for many residents, because it began over the weekend. Mainers could not renew driver’s licenses, obtain vehicle titles and registrations, or take road tests for new licenses. Numerous other government functions were similarly limited. Essential personnel such as a state police remained on the job.


Union members held a rally outside the State House on Monday morning to fault the GOP and call for budget passage. Ray Heathco, an Auburn social worker, said his inability to do his job during the shutdown means child support enforcement cases can’t go forward.

“The cases are just going to sit there languishing,” Heathco said. “It’s really about support for children.”

All the budget proposals floated over the past several days have been in the area of $7 billion. Line items remain the sticking points.

The new budget proposal includes $162 million in increased education spending to partially offset removal of a voter-approved 3 percent surcharge on the income of high-earning Maine residents. The tax, approved in November, was designed to boost state spending on K-12 education.

The state budget panel voted late Sunday to keep a lodging tax increase but to delay implementation by a month, to Nov. 1. LePage has said he won’t sign a budget with a tax increase and has faulted lawmakers for putting ego ahead of the people — a criticism Democrats have pinned on LePage.

Some Republican lawmakers said Monday they agreed with LePage’s stance on rejecting any budget that raises taxes.

“I know we can do better. We can say no to new taxes,” said Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough, from the House floor.

If the Legislature approves the budget, LePage could then sign it, veto it right away or do nothing for up to 10 days. He has raised the possibility of sitting on the budget and extending the shutdown if he does not approve of it.

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