UPDATE: The House has voted to override the Governor's veto of the 2-year budget 114 to 34.
The Appropriations Committee caucused all day and throughout the entire night of June 6 into the morning of June 7 when the Committee began to vote on various budget lines beginning around 5:00 A.M. The Appropriations Committee worked until midnight, Friday night, when it unanimously approved the General Fund Budget.
The Democratic Budget proposal provided for the restoration of $300 million for programs cut by the Governor. The Republican proposal initially proposed no program restoration unless the funds came from currently funded programs, and argued against any tax increases. The final budget provides for restorations of roughly $260 million. The increased revenues are derived from a number of taxes and savings including but not limited to:
Rebases from 2008 to 2012 the year on which the Hospital tax is imposed. Rejected the annual , updating of the base year,
Restored merit increases for FY 2014
Restored Longevity for the Biennium for state employees eligible for these payments as of June 30, 2013
Provided additional funding of $7.7 million for the State Employee Health Insurance Program,
Extends the Voluntary Employee Incentive Program for the 2014-2015 Biennium.
Provides $500,000 to the Board of Corrections.
Joint Select Committee on Workforce Development and Maine’s Economic Future – Legislative Budget
The Committee approved and incorporated LD 90, the product of the Joint Select Committee, into the Budget, and funded it with $3 million from the General Fund and $1 million from the Legislative Account.
Transferred $1.5 million from the balance in the Competitive Skills Scholarship Fund to fund the Apprenticeship Program
Transferred the Women, Work, and Community Program to the University of Maine System.
Judicial-Attorney General. The Committee
Tax Conformity. Conforms with several provisions in the Federal tax code such as “Married Filing Jointly.” Caps itemized deductions at $27,000. Also does not conform with a one year change to the tuition exemption.
Rejected the Governor’s proposal of $0 for Revenue Sharing and restored $125 million for a two-thirds restoration compared to Revenue Sharing for the 2012-2013 Biennium
Restores $2.8 million for Clean Elections for legislative races only. Funding for Gubernatorial races has been removed. The Republican proposal was $2.4 million, and the Democratic proposal was $4.7 million.
Task Forces and Studies.
Creates a Non-profit Tax Review Task Force consisting of 9 members including 2 Senators and 2 Representatives – one from each party, members representing the Association of Non-Profits, the Maine Municipal Association, and the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative and financial Services,
Creates a 13 member Tax Expenditure Review Task Force to examine tax expenditures – Tax exemptions and credits - in regard to their effectiveness and need. The Task Force includes 2 Senators and 2 Representatives.
Creates an independent study of the need for a new prison at Windham
State and Local Government
Office of Policy and Management. Increases from $10 million to $11,250,000 the amount of Savings the Office of Policy and Management [OPM] must find in administrative and efficiency savings in FY 2014. The budget increases from $20 million to $22,500,000 the amount of savings the Office of Policy and Management must find administratively or by elimination of programs in FY 2015. If OPM fails to find the savings required, the Governor is authorized to use his curtailment authority to achieve the savings.
Replaced $10 million of appropriations for renovations and repairs to state buildings by appropriately bonding for capital expenditures through the Maine government Facilities Authority.
Provides for the transfer of savings for conversion to natural gas.
Rejected the Governor’s split of funding for the State Police and approved 65% of funding from the General Fund and 35% from the highway Fund.
Veterans and Legal Affairs
Provides for an Office Associate II in the Portland Office which will increase outreach to veterans in Cumberland County.