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Good day.

Last week, Maine showed once again what sets it apart from most other places around the country.

Democrats and Republicans coming together, working in good faith toward a common goal, to overwhelmingly pass a two-year bipartisan budget for the State of Maine.

Such cooperation is rare.

You only have to look at the evening news or the morning newspaper to understand what I mean. Partisanship overpowers ideas, and progress is stalled by ideology.

As we did earlier this year when the Legislature called for, and approved, a package that will invest $295 million in growing the state’s economy, Democrats and Republicans have found common ground on the state’s spending priorities for the next two years.

I am proud of what we have accomplished together.

The budget contains the first significant reform in the administrative structure of K-12 education in more than 50 years in the State of Maine.

It puts the focus on educating kids, not unnecessary administrative costs.

And it gives communities the opportunity for real property tax relief.

When we began work on this budget six months ago, we were given little chance for success. But Maine lawmakers stuck with it.

It took an incredible commitment from members of the Education and Appropriations committees and from leaders on both sides of the aisle.

The easy path was to stick with the status quo, no matter how flawed or unsustainable.

Like often is the case, doing the right thing was much more difficult.

The roll call of people who poured their hearts and soul into this and found a way to make it work is long. The state owes a debt of gratitude to each one of them for helping us to set the state upon the right course.


But much of the credit also belongs to Mainers who may never visit the State House, who stepped forward to support our vision for Maine with phone calls, e-mails, letters and advertisements.

In this state, the Governor and the Legislature are close to the people. We talk with you, we listen to you, we work with you. With this budget, we have heard your call for property tax relief, for better government, cutting government costs and improving education.

You made this happen.

Throughout the budget process, I have held true to the core principles in my original budget proposal.

We are reducing unnecessary administration in K-12 education and focusing our resources on the classroom where they belong. We are streamlining and cutting administrative costs in state government, especially in human services, and investing in higher education and research and development to grow Maine’s economy.

With the changes this budget makes, we lay the foundation for more opportunities for more Mainers throughout the state. And we will begin a new era in efficient and responsive government.

The work on this budget doesn’t end with its passage. The big job of implementing it remains.

I am committed to making sure our education reforms move forward in the best, most consistent way. I will stay involved and I will be in communities around the state – just like I was in January and February – to make sure things are moving in the right direction.

Passing the law is only the beginning. Now we must make sure it works.

It would be easy to dwell on the excitement and accomplishments of the past week and the passage of a bipartisan budget.

But the work continues.

This week, I look forward to signing several pieces of legislation that have incredible bipartisan support in the Legislature.

I expect to sign a bill into law that will once again put Maine on the forefront of environmental stewardship by taking an aggressive stand on the emissions of pollution that is changing our environment.

I also expect to sign a bill that will outlaw dangerous chemicals from household products, making the state a safer and healthier place to live.

And I expect to sign one of the nation’s most aggressive efforts to end unscrupulous and predatory lending practices in the state.

We’ve also got work to do on health care and tax reform.

And I’m proud of the work that we have been able to do so far. We have made the tough decisions, set the priorities that will guide Maine for the next two years.

We’re not going to rest on the success, but instead hope to build upon it.

We have a better foundation for all Mainers to have prosperity and opportunity for the 21st Century. I expect that more great things will be coming.

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