AUGUSTA – Christmas is over, New Year’s day is around the corner and Maine’s Republican Governor, Paul LePage, has signed a curtailment order that will balance the state’s budget. The order came after months of projections showing that the state would experience a $35 million shortfall if current spending plans continued. Maine law does not allow the government to run at a deficit. By the end of the current fiscal year, revenue must equal expenditures.
Not surprisingly, the biggest cuts will be felt in education and the Department of Health and Human Services. Funding by the state to school districts and municipalities will be cut $12.5 million.
The Health and Human Services department will see their funding decreased by $13.4 million.
All of the cuts will be presented tot he state legislature and enacted before the end of the current fiscal year, June 30.
“Unlike the Federal Government, Maine must balance its budget and we can achieve this for the short-term under this curtailment,” said Governor LePage.
“However, in order for the State to sustain a balanced budget for the long-term, Democrats and Republicans must acknowledge that from year to year we have only put a Band-Aid on the problem. Not unlike Washington, we must reign in spending before Maine falls off its own fiscal cliff.”
Cities and towns across the state are now wondering how they will make up for the loss in revenue. Some, like Portland and Lewiston, have been planning for this day for months. It still hurts.
According to the Department of Education, The Portland school district will experience a reduction in state aid of over $870,000. They are not alone.