The Committee on Appropriations held its first public hearing on the 2014-2015 General Fund Biennial Budget today. The session began with a brief overview of the entire budget presented by Commissioner Millett. (Commissioner Millett’s testimony)
The morning session was devoted to environmental provisions in the budget, and the Appropriations Committee was joined by the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The agencies and programs included:
• The Solid Waste Management Fund,
• The Department of Environmental Protection, its Bureaus, and environmental funds,
• The Waste Motor Oil Disposal Site Remediation Program at FAME,
• The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission,
• The Saco River Corridor Commission, and
• The St. Croix International Waterway Commission.
In the afternoon public hearing session, the Appropriations Committee was joined by the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. The agencies and programs included:
• The State Board of Corrections,
• The Department of Corrections and the several prison facilities under its jurisdiction,
• The Department of Defense and Emergency Management
• The Maine Fire Protection Services Commission, and
The Department of Public Safety and agencies and programs under its jurisdiction.
Environment and Natural Resources (ENR)
Commissioner Aho of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) presented the department’s testimony Commissioner Aho’s testimony) in support of and detailing the 36 initiatives proposed in the Governor’s budget impacting her department.
Asked about the potential impact of federal sequestration on the department’s budget, Commissioner Aho relayed a conversation she had with the US DEP’s Chief Financial Officer explaining the impact. Both categorical and competitive grants from the federal government face a 5% decrease. The proposed budget anticipates these reductions.
The Commissioner also noted for the committees that while Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB) was used to develop the budget, that process was not shared with the Board of Environmental Protection.
Criminal Justice and Public Safety (CRJ)
Commissioner Ponte of the Department of Corrections joined both committees in the afternoon to review the