At the end of this week the Appropriations committee held public hearings on the recommendations to reduce spending by $33.75M over the biennium made by the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management, in their Part F report. This report, alternatively known as the OPM report or the Rosen Report, after Director Richard Rosen, may be found here. The appendices here.
On Thursday the committee heard extensive opposition to the report’s proposals to make cuts to programs in the Department of Health and Human Services including:
- ($1M) from the Children’s Immunization Program
- ($500,000) from “consolidating” the Maine Families Home Visiting Program and the Public Health Nursing Program. No details about this effort have been provided
- ($448,875) by eliminating the state funded portion of Head Start, a proposal rejected by the Legislature just last year
- ($1.2M) by turning the General Assistance Program into a block grant to municipalities that puts a hard cap on the state’s responsibility
Many people turned out to oppose all of these cuts. You can find public testimony on these initiatives here:
On Friday, January 17, the committee took public testimony first on the education cuts proposed in the Rosen report including:
|EDU||Remove Welcome Center||
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The Welcome Center is a centerpiece of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future’s work last session that helps attract new highly skilled migrants to Maine and get them in the workforce.
The Maine Educational Policy Research Institute (MEPRI) provides critical data to state government surrounding education and education funding.
The Rosen report proposes reducing state funding for school administration in a way that disproportionally disadvantages Maine’s larger districts.
In the afternoon that committee heard opposition to other items in the Rosen report including:
- Elimination of several licensing and regulatory boards
- A proposal rejected last year to charge rent and utility fees to clients of the Department of Labor’s Division of the Blind
- Proposals to privatize food service at Maine’s correctional facilities
Geologists and other professionals turned out in significant number to voice their opposition to the elimination of the self-funded licensing board governing their professions. Questions were raised about why focus on geologists at a time when Maine may experience a growth in mining activities.
Testimony may be found here:
Appropriations will convene Tuesday at 1:00 PM to hold a work sessions on bills regarding bond policy, retirement issues and LD 790, the repeal of the Maine Governmental Facilities Authority.
Commissioner Mayhew has also been invited to attend to respond to previously submitted questions about the Governor’s recently announced $119M shortfall. Those questions may be found in this post.
Wednesday at 10:00 AM the committee will hold a public hearing on LR 2721, An Act Related to the Tax Expenditure Review Task Force. The text of this draft bill may be found here. The bill is slated for a Thursday work session. Friday the committee will hold work sessions on bills not resolved on Tuesday.
As always, the full schedule may be found here: http://www.maine.gov/legis/ofpr/appropriations_committee/schedule_agendas/index.htm
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.