Monday, 19 June 2017 17:38

Lawmakers still no closer to budget agreement Featured

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AUGUSTA - Another day has passed in the Capitol without a state budget agreement.

The clock is ticking in Augusta, with lawmakers no closer to a budget deal on Monday than they were in days prior. The major issue remains a voter-approved 3% tax that would fund public K-12 schools.

Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) says negotiations are slow, even though three sides have reached a compromise.

"We understand that this is what governing is about, and still the House Republicans at this point are really sitting on an island, unwilling to fully engage in this discussion in a way that closes our state budget," Gideon said.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Rockport) disagrees, saying House GOP members are at the table, working with all parties as well as Governor LePage.

"We're pushing now for education reforms and for spending that's within the limits of what we think we can afford," Fredette said. "I think standing by those principles are what's important to do , not sitting here and figuring out how we can all hold hands and be nice to each other."

If a budget cannot be approved by June 30, the government will shut down, affecting not only government employees but the entire state.

"The effects are so devastating and so far reaching that every single one of us should consider it as something that is not an option," Gideon said.

"I don't think anyone here wants to see the state government do that, so we just continue to work around the clock to figure out how to get this done," said Fredette.

Budget talks will continue Tuesday.

Kayla Fish

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Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.

Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.

Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!