AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Maine's economy is still slow, and that's reducing the amount of tax money coming into state government.
As a result the state budget is going to need some cuts to keep balanced. The Legislature's Appropriations Committee--at its last meeting of the current session-- today heard the discouraging news that the state's Revenue Forecasting Committee now believes there will be about $35 million less in tax revenue for the FY 2013 budget year that ends in June.
The problem, according to the revenue estimators, is that Sales Tax receipts are growing much less than expected. And they say that for the first four months of the current Fiscal Year, Personal Income Tax and Corporate Income Tax receipts are actually less than last year.
State Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett says the Governor is likely to issue a budget curtailment order to cut or freeze spending in some programs right away, while the Legislature works on longer-term solutions. Governor LePage wouldn't answer questions about the matter himself, but his Communications Director says the curtailment order is one of three options. She said the Governor might also wait and submit a more comprehensive Supplemental Budget in January, or use a combination approach. She says a decision could come as soon as Friday, but will definitely happen in a week or less.
Democratic leaders, who take control of the Legislature next week, say they're ready to tackle the budget problems and find ways to also create more jobs.
The Governor is already expected to submit a bigger package of budget cuts and changes in January. The Revenue Forecasting Committee says conditions could improve, and tax revenues could increase later in the year, especially if Congress and the President agree to real solutions to the so-called "fiscal cliff".