AUGUSTA – A final Baldacci administration reckoning pegs the overall state surplus for the end of fiscal 2004 in excess of $70 million.

The sum is made up of surplus revenue totaling $63 million and lapsed balances and other adjustments of nearly $13.7 million, less almost $6.5 million previously counted on for budget-balancing, officials said Wednesday. Of the unappropriated amount of $70.2 million, the bulk is targeted for a variety of accounts and programs specified in legislation.

Still, officials said after those distributions and adjustments, the state would still have an unappropriated General Fund surplus of $8.4 million. That money is not currently earmarked for use.

About two-thirds of the overall $70.2 million surplus goes toward two things: nearly $22.5 million for a state budget stabilization fund, which replaced what was known as the Maine rainy day fund, and the same amount, nearly $22.5 million, as a commitment to the unfunded actuarial liability of the retirement system.

Another major chunk of the overall surplus, more than $11.2 million, is directed to a General Fund operating capital reserve.

Another $1 million is channeled to a loan insurance reserve fund for the Finance Authority of Maine. Additionally, a little more than $300,000 goes to replenish a governor’s emergency contingent account.

More than $4.3 million then is made available for a number of one-time fiscal 2004 funding targets, including:

• $564,287 for FAME;

• $850,000 for the University of Maine;

• $350,000 for the Maine Community College System;

• $2 million for an Economic Improvement Fund;

• $57,538 for the Maine state library;

• $123,837 for Maine Public Broadcast;

• and $400,000 for a Conservation Department shore and harbor management fund.

According to Baldacci administration budget chief Rebecca Wyke, state government is looking at an estimated gap between spending demands and anticipated revenue of about $785 million in the next budget cycle, plus the cost of implementing a major school funding increase approved by statewide voters last month.

The governor and lawmakers have been working to offset a structural gap of about $1 billion in the current two-year budget cycle.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.