To go with AP story on budget…

Filling the gap

What: Recently enacted state budget needs to be cut – or new money found – to the tune of $250 million to avoid borrowing.

Why: Lawmakers are concerned about overspending and worry a people’s veto could derail the state’s $5.7 billion budget, which begins July 1.

How: Unable to come up with one bi-partisan report, the Appropriations Committee Tuesday voted out a majority (Democrat) and minority (Republican) proposal for consideration by both houses.

The highlights:


Raise $125 million:

• $123 million by increasing cigarette tax from $1 to $2 per pack, plus raising smokeless tobacco tax

• $2 million by increasing malt liquor tax

Cut $125 million from programs, including:

• $10.4 million to care of severely disabled children through means testing; families with incomes over $150,000 would begin paying for some care.

• $7.2 million to Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement

• $5.5 million reducing Tree Growth tax reimbursement to towns

• $5.2 by delaying some school construction projects

• $5 million to the Fund for Healthy Maine

• $5 million in General Revenue Sharing to towns and cities

• $2.25 million to Dirigo Health

• $1.5 million in Corrections through increased supervised confinement for non-violent offenders

• $1.5 million by suspending expansion of non-categorical MaineCare health coverage to the poor


No tax increases.

All $250 million would come from cuts, including:

• $32.4 million from Dirigo Health, which would gut the program. Republicans say it would mean 600 people would no longer receive coverage, the program would be “refocused” to help pay small businesses and workers

• $20 million from MaineCare non-categorical adults (poor, non-parents)

• $13.3 million by cutting all state programs by a half-percent across the board, except for K-12 education to municipalities and debt service

• $10 million from Fund for Healthy Maine

• $10 million by charging state workers higher co-payments, deductibles

• $9.1 million through a payroll push; delaying payroll for state workers one week on June 28, 2007

No cut to Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement

Source: Office of Fiscal and Program Review

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