House Majority Leader Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, told reporters during a news conference Friday that in addition to rumors he and his colleagues have heard this week, LePage confirmed the $100 million DHHS shortfall to legislative leaders during a meeting on Thursday.

“This has been going around the building and through the grapevine,” said Berry. “The governor did mention it to leadership in passing yesterday. It became clear that this is not just a rumor.”

Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for LePage, said the administration acknowledges that there is a significant shortfall in DHHS and will provide further details next week, but that the majority of it is attributed to the Medicaid program.

She says the administration intends to work with lawmakers to fix the shortfall.

A senior administration official who refused to be identified would not discuss the details of the shortfall, but told the BDN early Friday afternoon that fiscal information about DHHS and other financial data will be given to the Legislature on Monday.

Berry and Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, called on LePage to help the Legislature craft a supplemental budget to address the shortfall. LePage said late last year that his administration will not write a supplemental budget bill because he included his ideas and priorities in his biennial budget proposal last year. Many of LePage’s recommendations were not adopted by the Legislature, which balanced the budget with temporary increases in the sales, meals and lodging taxes. That caused LePage to veto the rewritten budget bill, but his veto was overridden.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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