AUGUSTA – In a tight budget year, local lawmakers were still able to secure funds for various programs out of the general fund.

The Appropriations Committee allocated $5,000 in this fiscal year and $1,500 the following year to recognize Gold Star parents and family members. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Makas, D-Lewiston, gives the monetary award for those whose loved ones have been killed in the armed services since Sept. 11, 2001.

Sen. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, secured a $15,000 yearly appropriation to the Veterans Transportation Network. The volunteer-based organization transports veterans to Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta.

Rep. Sawin Millett, R-Waterford, sponsored a bill to expand sales and use tax exemptions currently given to nonprofit fire and ambulance services to air ambulance services as well. It passed.

Career centers in Wilton, Rumford and Paris will get a $15,000 check from the state, as a result of a bill sponsored by Rep. Janet Mills, D-Farmington.

Education bills included yearly funding of $500,000 for after-school programs, sponsored by Rep. Christopher Barstow, D-Gorham, and a $100,000 yearly appropriation for mentoring programs, sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Fischer, D-Presque Isle.

While these bills got funding, many did not.

An effort by Millett to secure $862,676 in funding to reduce the cost of hunting and fishing licenses for some veterans tanked, as did an effort by Sen. Lois Snowe-Mello, R-Poland, to increase the amount of money nursing home residents can spend on personal expenses.

The committee also denied a $150,000 yearly appropriation to Central Maine Community College, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Saviello, an independent from Wilton,

Two measures by Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Dixfield, also failed, one that would have amended the tax credit for biofuel production, and another that would have given $350,000 a year to a fractionation development center.


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