LePage’s OPM director lays out nearly $34 million cuts to balance state budget
by Andi Parkinson
As part of the biennial FY ’14-15 budget bill enacted in June that called for the Governor’s newly formed Office of Policy and Management department with finding $33,750,000 in cuts, OPM Director Richard Rosen presented a 115 page report before Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) last week. This is the first report by Rosen to the committee.
Among the cuts listed:
-$1.1 million by reducing overtime.
-$800,000 by cutting the Prisoner Boarding Account.
-Allowing prisoners with 18 months left on their sentences, as opposed to current 12 months, to participate in work-release programs, creating an additional $85,000 in revenue.
-Privatizing DOC’s kitchen staff, saving $374,000.
Democrats were critical of the cuts:
“There are strong concerns that the administration’s proposed cuts will harm our state’s economy and Maine families,” said Senator Dawn Hill of York who also serves as the Senate chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs committee. “We are prepared to make hard decisions and know that we must work together on solutions. But these solutions must be strategic and smart, not harmful and regressive for our working families and our towns.”
“This proposal is a ‘greatest hits’ list of rehashed ideas that have been rejected by both parties, It’s hard to believe this is a serious proposal.” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, the House chair of the Appropriations committee. “Now it is our job to find proposals that work.”
As required by the budget, $11 million of the proposed cuts would occur in fiscal year 2014 and do not require the approval of the Legislature. The remainder of the proposed cuts would occur in 2015 and would need to be approved by lawmakers when the Legislature reconvenes in January.