Maine state budget (2008-2009)

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State Information


On May 1, 2009 Gov. Baldacci presented his budget to close the $129 million budget gap for fiscal year 2009 and the estimated $440 million gap in fiscal years 2010-2011. The budget included a reduced two-year General Fund budget of $5.8 billion. Reductions included: increased health insurance cost sharing for new state employees; eliminations of planned merit increases; 12 government shutdown days per year in 2010 and 2011; and the creation of a Commission to Recommend Streamlining of State Programs and Services.[1]

Gov. Baldacci's plan also reduced funding for:[2]

  • K-12 and higher education;
  • The Department of Health and Human Services;
  • The Homestead Exemption program;
  • The Circuit Breaker program;
  • Municipal Revenue Sharing; and
  • The Milk Subsidy, by capping the amount available.

The budget relied upon $75.5 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund in 2009 and 2010 and $40.6 million from the State’s Working Capital Fund. Taken together, the two funds represent the state’s reserves.[3]

The Maine State Legislature sets a biennial budget on odd-numbered years. The legislature met from December 3, 2008 to June 13, 2009.[4] Gov. Baldacci presented in January a budget plan that reduced General Fund spending for the two-year budget from $6.3 billion in 2008-09 to $6.1 billion for 2010-11.[5]

Federal stimulus package

  • The state submitted 72 projects for funds from the federal stimulus package.[6]
  • The funding request for 72 projects totaled $219,461,480 for the cities of Lewiston and Portland.[7]

Budget background

See also: Maine state budget

On or before September 1 of even-numbered years, the judicial branch, the legislative branch and each executive branch department or agency prepare a budget request for the next two fiscal years. The most important restriction on the legislature in enacting a budget is the Maine Constitution’s guarantee that the state’s budget will be balanced in each fiscal year of the biennium, which results from its prohibition on deficit financing. There are two sections in the state constitution that address the issue. Article IX, Section 14 prohibits the state from incurring long-term debt of more than $2,000,000, except for certain specified emergencies, without a vote of the people. In addition, Article V, Part Third, Section 5 prohibits the use of proceeds from the sale of bonds for current expenditures.[8]

The Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission (CEFC) was originally established by Executive Order on May 25, 1992, in order to provide the governor, the legislature and the Revenue Forecasting Committee with analyses, findings and recommendations for state economic assumptions to be used in developing state revenue forecasts. Creation of the commission was in response to a recommendation of the Special Commission on Government Restructuring in 1991 to establish an independent, consensus process for state economic and revenue forecasting. Public Law 1995, chapter 368 enacted in statute the Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission, maintaining both the structure and intent of the original Executive Order.[9]

The CEFC is required to develop two-year and four-year economic forecasts for the state. In performing this duty, the commission is required by statute to meet twice each fiscal year. By no later than November 1 and February 1, the commission must annually develop its findings with regard to the economic assumptions or adjustments to the existing economic assumptions for the state. The commission submits its findings to the governor, the Legislative Council, the Revenue Forecasting Committee and the Joint Standing Committee of the legislature having jurisdiction over appropriations and financial affairs. The Revenue Forecasting Committee is required to use the economic assumptions and forecast of the commission in developing its four-year revenue projections.[10]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State database Searchability Grants Contracts Line item expenditures Dept./agency budgets Public employee salary
None n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Economic stimulus transparency

  • The Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 designated $787 billion to be spent throughout the nation. Of that $787 billion stimulus package, it was estimated that 69%, or over $541 billion, would be administered by state governments.[11]
  • Maine was expected to receive an estimated $683,807,294.[12]

Public employee salary information

See also: Maine state government salary

MaineOpenGov.org provides state salary information. Users can search by first name, last name, agency, department, sub-department, position, pay year and wage range.

See also

External links

References

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GovProposedBudget09
  2. Gov. Baldacci's Office, "Governor Baldacci Presents Plan to Close $569 Million Budget Gap," May 1, 2009
  3. Gov. Baldacci's Office, "Governor Baldacci Presents Plan to Close $569 Million Budget Gap," May 1, 2009
  4. Maine State Legislature Web site, accessed October 24, 2009
  5. Gov. Baldacci's Office, "Governor Baldacci Presents Plan to Close $569 Million Budget Gap," May 1, 2009
  6. Stimulus Watch: Keeping an Eye on Economic Recovery Spending, "Find Projects by State or Territory," 2009
  7. Stimulus Watch: Keeping an Eye on Economic Recovery Spending, "Projects in Maine," 2009
  8. Maine State Legislature, "Budget Process," accessed October 24, 2009
  9. Maine Bureau of Budget, "Governor’s Recommended 2010-2011 Biennial Budget Overview," January 9, 2009
  10. Maine Bureau of Budget, "Governor’s Recommended 2010-2011 Biennial Budget Overview," January 9, 2009
  11. National Taxpayers Union, "A Letter to the Nation's Governors: Ensure Transparency and Accountability by Posting Stimulus Expenditures Online," March 10, 2009
  12. [1]