LePage: Funding For Education, Aid To Towns Back On The Chopping Block
AUGUSTA—Funding to education and workforce training, vaccines for kids, and aid to towns are back on the chopping block in a new budget proposal from the LePage administration.
On Wednesday, Richard Rosen, Governor Paul LePage’s director of the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), presented the proposal for $33 million in budget cuts to the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. OPM was charged with finding $33 million in savings as part of the state’s two year budget.
“There are strong concerns that the administration’s proposed cuts will harm our state’s economy and Maine families,” said Senator Dawn Hill of York who also serves as the Senate chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs committee. “We are prepared to make hard decisions and know that we must work together on solutions. But these solutions must be strategic and smart, not harmful and regressive for our working families and our towns.”
The 115-page report proposes to eliminate 97 jobs, cuts more than $9 million from education, nearly half a million dollars in HeadStart funding, and $1 million in innovative technology investments at Maine Technology Institute. It also includes a $1 million cut to vaccines for children and cuts to the state’s reimbursement to towns for General Assistance for struggling families.
“This proposal is a ‘greatest hits’ list of rehashed ideas that have been rejected by both parties, It’s hard to believe this is a serious proposal.” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, the House chair of the Appropriations committee. “Now it is our job to find proposals that work.”
As required by the budget, $11 million of the proposed cuts would occur in fiscal year 2014 and do not require the approval of the Legislature. The remainder of the proposed cuts would occur in 2015 and would need to be approved by lawmakers when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
The Appropriations and Financial Affairs committee will consider the proposal in the coming weeks.
Details of the report can be found here.