Maine state budget (2009-2010)

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State Information


Maine officials announced on July 20, 2010 that the state ended fiscal year 2010 with a surplus of more than $70 million.[1] Then-Gov. John Baldacci said that the surplus resulted from higher-than-expected revenues from corporate income and sales and use taxes, and also from limiting spending by state agencies. State law requires the surplus to be allocated to a number of state funds, including the rainy day fund, the Finance Authority of Maine's Loan Insurance Reserve Fund, the general fund's operating capital and the state retirement system and retiree health fund.[1]

For the coming fiscal year, however, the state faced a shortfall of almost $1 billion.[2]

Maine had a total state debt of $9,972,282,018 when calculated by adding the total of outstanding debt, pension and OPEB UAAL’s, unemployment trust funds and the 2010 budget gap as of July 2010.[3]

Transparency

See also: Evaluation of Maine state website

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

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.[4]

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.[5]

The CEFC is required to develop two-year and four-year economic forecasts for the state of. In performing this duty, the commission is required by statute to meet twice each fiscal year. No later than November 1 and February 1 annually the commission must 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.[6]


Accounting principles

See also: Maine government accounting principles

Maine’s audit reports are published online by the Department of Audit. The Maine Department of Audit's primary responsibility is to audit the financial statements of the state and expenditures of federal programs. As of 2009, Neria R. Douglass was the state auditor.[7]

The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Maine “tardy” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), the annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA did not consider Maine’s CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis did not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care.[8] Maine's CAFRs are published online by the Office of State Controller. As of 2009, Edward A. Karass was the State Controller of Maine.[9]


Economic stimulus transparency

Maine would receive approximately $127 million from the federal government under H.R. 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[10] Maine would receive an estimated $683,807,294.[11]

As of August 2009, 40% of stimulus funds for transportation projects went to Pike Industries, who received $48.5 million of the nearly $121.3 million given to the Maine Department of Transportation.[12] The largest part of the contract was for the I-295 corridor, which cost $31.2 million.[12] Pike Industries was the only company to have a lobbyist in Augusta. The lobbyist spent $18,500 on lobbying efforts in 2009 and an additional $11,000 during the first four months the legislature was in session in 2010.[12]

Six Maine agencies would also collectively receive $7 million to weatherize the state’s old housing stock.[13][14]

Error in ARRP

According to Recovery.gov, federal stimulus funds would go to 884 congressional districts, though there are only 435.[15][16]

Maine more than doubled its number of congressional districts, adding three more to its existing two, according to the ARRP tracking website.[17]

Public employee salary information

See also: Maine state government salary

See also

External links

References