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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Maine Restores $37 Million in Community Based Services Funds

Revised Maine budget unveiled, some cuts restored


Maine Gov. John Baldacci presented a state budget rewrite Wednesday that reflects a slightly improved economy and restores some services he previously proposed cutting, most notably in social services and schools.

The restorations reflect $51 million in upgraded revenue projections and nearly $28 million in additional Medicaid funding from the federal government. Thanks to those funding boosts, Maine's revenue shortfall was lowered last week from $438 million to $360 million less than halfway through the two-year budget cycle.

Baldacci, who outlined his proposals at a news briefing in his office, did not rule out further changes in the weeks left before lawmakers adjourn, saying the economy -- which drives the state budget -- remains unpredictable.

"Despite today's good news, we know the economy is fragile and our economy is far from certain," the governor said.

The largest piece of the funding restoration -- $37 million -- is targeted for services including support for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, services for the disabled, home-based care and mental health crisis intervention. The restored funding represents more than half of the human services cuts that had been proposed by the governor in December.

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