LePage signs curtailment order cutting spending by $35.5M

Campaign Trackers
Joel Page

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the swearing in ceremony for new representatives at the State House in Augusta, Maine. As LePage addressed the newly elected Legislature in early December, his frustration with trackers, the video camera-toting operatives who follow politicians around, boiled over into a brief diatribe that set the session off to a sour start. (AP Photo/Joel Page, File)

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage signed an order Thursday cutting state spending by $35.5 million.

The order has been anticipated since November, when revenue forecasters downgraded estimates for the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2013. The spending cuts are necessary to ensure the state finishes the fiscal year with a balanced budget, as required by the Maine Constitution.

LePage said it's time for legislators to address structural problems with Maine's state budget rather than simply putting a Band-Aid on it year after year.

"Not unlike Washington, we must rein in spending before Maine falls off its own fiscal cliff," he said in a statement.

The Department of Health and Human Services is taking the biggest cut, $13.4 million, followed by the Department of Education, which is facing a $12.6 million reduction in state assistance to local schools across the state. The Portland School District faces the biggest cut in school aid at $870,000, followed by South Portland at $411,000 and Scarborough at $392,000.

Other notable cuts in LePage's order include the University of Maine System ($2.5 million), the Department of Corrections ($2 million), the Department of Administrative and Financial Services ($776,000), the Maine Community College System ($724,000) and the Department of Public Safety ($427,000).

Even with the cuts, the governor and legislators face additional fiscal issues.

The administration is preparing a supplemental budget to close a projected shortfall in the two-year budget that ends June 30 caused by a projected $100 million shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lawmakers and LePage also will face challenges as they put together a budget for the next two-year cycle that begins July 1. Revenue forecasters' figures show revenues lagging behind estimates by $126 million during the two-year cycle.

While presenting the details of Thursday's order, Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett characterized Maine's fiscal challenges as "abundant and recurring."

Democratic legislative leaders said they would convene the Legislature's appropriations committee ahead of schedule to begin reviewing the cuts included in the curtailment order. The curtailment is temporary and can be changed or made permanent by the Legislature.

Curtailment orders are a common way to deal with short-term budget problems. The previous governor, Democrat John Baldacci, ordered curtailments in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as the recession took root.

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Comments

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Gee, I thought we were told leading up to the 2012 election...

that happy days were here again. All economic indicators were on the upswing...right?!?!

We were told that the economy was improving; obviously not the case as revenues are not increasing or even meeting projections. This is not something anyone takes joy in pointing out, but something that must be managed until the economy changes in a positve way and the next budget cycle.

The biggest spending curtailment recommendations will probably, and appear, to be coming from the biggest state departmental budgets with concern toward maintaining public safety. I imagine this course of action would make sense to most Maine taxpayers.

No matter where the belt is tightened, it will cause pain and outcry. The easy answer is to go back to the taxpayers and increase taxes; this may happen at the municipal level. The harder course of action is to proritize spending and focus future spending on essential services and cut back where possible until the next budget cycle.

As taxpayers, we'll wait and see what the new democrat controlled legislature does, but I'm sure we can guess how they will handle it.

Steve  Dosh's picture

LePage signs curtailment order cutting spending by $35.5M,

all , 12,28.12 4:04 pm hst ?
. . .thereby cutting off his nose despite his face
Can he alienate n e one else in the process ? HHmmm . .. Let's see . .....
Hope y'all have enough money to plow the roads this winter , dirt and sodium chloride to cover them during many ice storms , $$ for police , Fire , & E M Services
Who's his doctor and who pays for his health care plan and salary ?
It's only a rhetorical quesition , Mainers
You do •
h t h ? Dr. Dosh & ohana
http://www.pnhp.org/news/articles-of-interest

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Robert...yes...hope our Government sticks around after the next

election.

He is one of the few who understands, even as a government, you have to live within your means; and take quick action when revenue does not meet expectations.

It's about time!

Steve  Dosh's picture

Amadeo ? 12.28.12 04:20 ?

Amadeo ? 12.28.12 04:20 ? HST
He understands squat . The guy is about as smart as a box of hammers and he has alienated and derided your own State Attorney General . Mind you ; - t h a t - guy can make anyone's liƒe in ME very miserable . Remember Nixon and A G Cox n e one ? He ( Tricky Dick - " I am not a crook " , etc. ) was a power hungry and paranoid delusional meglomaniaic , too
Richard Milhouse Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President ... Nixon had AG Cox fired in October in the "Saturday Night Massacre " unpdated 20:58, 27 December 2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Nixon
~ Happy New Year 2 0 1 3 ~ ( btw - the Chinese year of the snake :)
/s Steve

Robert McQueeney's picture

Finally, a government

Finally, a government official who understands balancing a check book. Don't spend what you don't have. Kudos.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Kudos

Kudos

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