AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Maine House and Senate today passed a supplemental state budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year, and sent it on to Governor Paul LePage.
The budget makes a series of cuts and other changes to fill a $153 million dollar hole in the FY 2013 budget, which was caused by a shortfall in tax revenues and cost over-runs in the Department of Health and Human Services - primarily in the Medicaid program.
There had been predictions earlier this week that some Democrats would oppose the budget cuts, but apparently that opposition was small. The House passed the budget on a vote of 129-14, while the Senate passed it with a unanimous vote.
The Appropriations Committee made a number of changes to the original proposal from Governor LePage, eliminating or reducing some of the specific cuts he wanted in Human Services programs. However, it did include a $12.5 million reduction in funding for local schools. The Governor's Communications office says Gov. LePage has not yet decided whether to sign or veto the budget.
The Governor has consistently called for significant cuts to what he calls "welfare programs". Communications Director Adrienne Bennett says that when Governor makes a decision on the budget, he will make it clear he is not satisfied with the Legislature's actions in regard to those programs.
The Legislature is about to begin work on the new, $6.1 billion dollar biennial budge for FY 2014-2015t, which must be passed before the end of June.