April 22, 2013- Initial Votes & HHS/TAX Report Backs

Summary

Today the Appropriations committee took initial votes on the Governor’s proposed budget as informed by the report backs of policy committees.  They also received report backs from both the HHS and TAX committees.

DHHS Hearing

On Tuesday, April 16th Appropriations was joined by the HHS committee to receive responses from DHHS to some questions raised during the public hearing. You may find materials from that meeting here:  DHHS Fact sheet April 16, 2013

 Initial votes (CRJ, EUT, IFS, JUD, LCRED, MAR, SLG, TRA & VLA)

Returning from a full week of caucusing, the Appropriations committee took a series of initial unanimous votes on the Governor’s proposed Biennial budget.

The Appropriations Committee voted in 194 initiatives that were unanimously supported by 10 policy committees and tabled a number of initiatives as follows:

All initiatives involving increased spending,

  • All initiatives for which there are split policy committee votes,
  • All initiatives for which additional information is needed,
  • Initiatives creating new positions or creating a significant reorganization of the agency.

Note:  AFA votes are indicated in the following fashion:

“AFA Vote: In”.

Criminal Justice (CRJ)

Initial AFA Votes CJPS

 AFA has not yet considered these proposals:

  • State Board of Corrections Investment Fund,
  • Computer Crimes [new position]Consolidated Emergency Communications,
  • Criminal Justice Academy [increased spending],
  • Drug enforcement [More information needed]
  • Fire Marshall [split policy committee vote],
  • Part HH [- New Prison at Windham,

Energy, Utilities and Technology (EUT)

Initial AFA Votes EUT

The following initiatives were not considered by AFA:

  • Efficiency Maine Trust [No votes by the Policy Committee],
  • Public Advocate [new assessment]
  • Emergency Consolidated Communications Bureau [need more information],

Insurance and Financial Services (IFS)

 Initial AFA Votes IFS

All items were approved.

Judiciary (JUD)

Initial AFA Votes JUD

Appropriations tabled the following items:

  • Reallocation of funding of positions and position transfers in the Attorney-General’s Office  [Need more information],
  • Transfer of $300,000 from the Attorney-General’s Office to the Governor’s Legal Contingency Account for legal representation,
  • Increased payments for medical examiners,
  • Human Rights – Increased Spending,
  • Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services – [Increased spending of $10 million over the Biennium,
  • Court, System [Continued limited-period position] and change in appellate process for Workers Compensation cases],
  • Chief Medical Examiner – [Exempt from lapsing unexpended balances]

Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED)

 Initial AFA Votes LCED

Still to be considered are items related to:

  • Transfers of positions and changes in position titles – DECD,
  • Housing Authority – Additional Funding of $735,000 over the Biennium,
  • Department of Labor – position transfers and reallocation of funding positions, split policy committee votes,
  • Blind and Visually Impaired – Funding cuts & new positions
  • Cuts in Maine Centers for Women, Work, and Community,
  • Repeal of the provision that prohibits the State from charging a rental fee for vending machines in state-owned facilities that are owned by blind persons
  • Reduction of funding for contracted services with the Maine Center on Deafness,
  • Cap on the amount of funding transferred from the real estate tax to the Maine State Housing Authority,

Marine Resources (MAR)

 Initial AFA Votes MAR

Not considered by AFA were the language items related to MAR including:

  • Bio-toxin Monitoring Program [need more information],
  • Bureau of Marine Patrol – Provides $480,000 additional funding over the Biennium,
  • Watercraft revenues – split between IF&W and Marine Resources,
  • Creation of a Communication Position,

State and Local Government (SLG)

Initial AFA Votes SLG

Still to be considered are initiatives regarding:

  • Freezing of Merit increases for two years, includes Part E,
  • Freezing of Longevity payments for two years ,
  • An $11,800,000 cut to State employee Health Insurance and freezing the State share for an additional 2 years for a total 5 year freeze,
  • Reduced funding for State employee retiree health insurance,
  • Capital construction, repairs, and improvements of state-owned facilities at a cost of $5 million over the biennium,
  • $5,000,000 In FY 2014 for renovation of state-owned facilities ,
  • Increased funding for the State’s vehicle fleet, including Part D,
  • Office of Policy and Management – Identify $30 million of savings over two years, includes Part F,
  • Eliminating positions for a savings over the biennium of $3,750,000,
  • $ 3,495,000 of funding for a new human resources system,
  • Creation of a deputy commissioner position in DAFS,
  • $3,200,000 cut in the Statewide Radio Network,
  • Funding for peer review of the Audit Department,
  • Additional funding for position in the Office of Policy and Management, includes Part G,
  • Increase in the Attrition Rate from 5% to 6%
  • Repeal of the provision that prohibits the State from charging a rental fee for vending machines in state-owned facilities that are owned by blind persons, Part BBB,
  • One Day transfer of $70,450,000 – Part KKK

Transportation (TRA)

Initial AFA Votes TRA

Among the items not considered by the AFA committee are:

  • Transfer of Liquor Enforcement to DAFS,
  • Changes in the percentages of state police funding to 67% General Fund and 33%, Highway Fund at a cost of over $15 million over the Biennium PART EEE,
  • Replacement of 4 vehicles operated by the Maine Turnpike Authority,
  • Acquisition of motor vehicles for the Department of Public Safety,
  • Funding of $1,650,000 for remediation of the Callahan Mine site.
  • Part OOO – Redesignation of municipal excise tax revenues levied on truck tractors to the State,

Veterans and Legal Affairs (VLA)

 Initial AFA Votes VLA

The Appropriations committee left the following initiatives on the table:

  • Alcoholic beverage provisions, Defense and Veterans Affairs – transfer of  position funding to the General Fund
  • Veterans Services – Reorganization of positions,
  • Gambling Control Board – additional funding requested,

Further Report Backs (HHS & TAX)

HHS

In the afternoon the HHS committee joined AFA to present their report back on the Biennial budget:  It may be found here.

Minority votes. The minority of the HHS committee voted to amend the following lines:

Lines 237-238, 443 (Part MMM). Cap casino revenues to FHM for DEL at $2.5million each year in FY 14 and FY 15 only.

  • Lines 292-294, 433 (Part NN). Reduce DEL eligibility from 175% to 100% FPL.
  • Lines 320-321, 437 (Part RR). Reduce MaineCare reimbursement to critical access
  • hospitals from 109% of allowable costs to 105% of allowable costs for FY 14 and FY 15 only.
  • Lines 322-323. Accept the reduction in reimbursement for outpatient hospital services by the dollar amounts identified and amend the blippie to delete “by 10%” and to limit the cut to FY14 and FY15 only.
  • Line 344. Delete “for legal noncitizens” from the blippie.
  • Lines 434 (Part OO). Incorporate initiatives on General Assistance from the anticipated change package.

The committee is awaiting considerable information from the Department.

TAX

The Taxation committee presented their Interim report back. It may be found here.

TAX divided on:

  • Revenue Sharing
  • BETR/BÊTE
  • Circuit Breaker
  • Homestead
  • The repeal of the sales tax exemption for publications
  • Chained CPI
  • Revenue Services baseline budget
  • UT Education Services Fund

The Taxation committee will be holding hearings on revenue enhancement over the next few weeks.

Schedule

Throughout this week, and the next several, AFA will hold caucuses and take public votes at any time.

The full schedule may be found here:

Audio and more

Please feel free to join the committee as they do their work. You may also listen online using the following link: http://www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/appropriations_committee/audio/index.htm

You also may watch broadcasts of these and other committee hearings on the Maine Capitol Connection pilot channel through Maine Public Broadcasting.  You may watch over the air or through your cable provider as well as online here: http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineCapitolConnection.aspx

Thank you and please let me know if you have questions.

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