Underneath the Dome: Within the Maine Condition House
Underneath the Dome: Within the Maine Condition House
Underneath the Dome: Within the Maine Condition House supplies a high-level summary of recent activity in the Maine Condition House.
Debate Begins Spending Too Much Money or Saving Forecasted Surplus
Now, the Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee believed a $73 million revenue surplus within the General Fund with this biennium, due mainly to tax collections arriving greater than forecasted. Governor Paul LePage has mentioned he wants the whole surplus to become transferred in to the state’s Wet Day fund, however the Legislature hasn’t agreed. Many bills are travelling with the Legislature which have a cost tag in it if enacted. The fate of those dollars rarely is in resolved before the very finish from the legislative session once the Legislature can consider all fiscal demands.
Tax Conformity Fight Continues
The Maine Legislature continues to be at odds over tax conformity. The Republicans are waiting their position that tax conformity ought to be enacted for that full biennium and should be worked with separate and aside from other conditions. Democrats is only going to accept twelve months of tax conformity, however they will consider 2 yrs when the Legislature first resolves a $23 million education funding shortfall along with other potential fiscal impacts that arise this session. Tax conformity is believed to result in a loss of revenue in condition revenue of approximately $17 million each year. The training funding shortfall for affected municipalities is a result of the use of the training funding formula, that is producing a reallocation of dollars from municipalities which are experiencing declining student population and/or growing municipal valuations. As of this moment, the apparent stalemate continues.
Maine Legislators Renew Effort to grow State medicaid programs
Since 2013, Maine’s Legislature has unsuccessfully tried to expand its State medicaid programs program, as permitted underneath the Affordable Care Act. This session, Republican Senator Tom Saviello is sponsoring the sixth attempt by means of an invoice that will give about 70,000 low-earnings Mainers the choice of coverage. The expanded State medicaid programs coverage would come with elevated use of drug abuse treatment and mental health counseling. Advocates of the balance are hopeful the recent opiate epidemic brings legislators together for the balance. If passed, it’s expected that Governor LePage will veto the balance according to his administration’s claim that it’ll cost the condition $315 million within the next 5 years.
Lawmakers Debate Constitutional Amendment on Citizen Petition Signature Gathering
When confronted with an growing trend to legislate policy via citizen initiatives on the statewide ballot, the Legislature is thinking about an invoice to produce a more rigorous tactic to earn a place around the ballot. An Answer continues to be suggested to amend the Maine Metabolic rate to want that every county be symbolized by a minimum of 5% from the signatures collected on any citizen initiated petitions. Particularly, the signatures needed from each county would need to equate to a minimum of 5% from the total votes cast for the reason that county in the newest gubernatorial election. The Home and Senate have voted within the last two days, by simple majority, to succeed the balance. However, since the bill provides amend the Maine Metabolic rate, it’ll ultimately require two-thirds votes both in the home and also the Senate before this being placed to the fall ballot for ratification through the voters.
Governor Paul LePage Shifts Positions to permit the Land for Maine’s Future Program to maneuver Forward
Following a nearly year-lengthy battle to block the discharge of voter-approved bond money for that Land for Maine’s Future program, Governor Paul LePage decided to release $5 million of funds in December. Also, he decided to nominate three new people towards the LMF board so the Board will once more possess a quorum and then operate. Now, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee dicated to recommend the nominees towards the Senate, which in turn dicated to confirm them on Thursday, Feb 25, 2016. The general aftereffect of the Governor’s alternation in position using the discharge of funds and also the appointment of recent Board people would be to permit the Land for Maine’s Future program to carry on planning future projects, something which was uncertain last year.
Funds in Openly Funded Campaign Program Running Low
The manager director from the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, Jonathan Wayne, told the Legislature now the fund for Maine’s openly financed campaign system could go out this season because of withdrawals in the fund through the Legislature coupled with an growing demand around the fund. On Tuesday, Feb 23 Mr. Wayne told the Appropriations Committee that lawmakers have redirected nearly $12 million in the fund into other individuals. Regardless of the Legislature’s effort to pay back money towards the fund, more candidates are entering this program after last fall’s citizen referendum that considerably elevated the comes down to get offers for to candidates who choose to run each campaign with public funding. Simultaneously, two different reports in the Tax Committee propose other funding methods. The Republicans’ report recommends funding the rise in the General Fund, and also the Democrats’ report recommends funding it by requiring corporations who file Maine tax returns to pay for Maine tax on earnings earned in specified countries which have been called “tax havens.” The controversy over funding will probably go on for several days because the Legislature views next steps.