Governor LePage Uses Line Item Veto on FY13 Budget

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thistle
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Governor LePage Uses Line Item Veto on FY13 Budget

Subject: Governor LePage Uses Veto Line Item Power

For Immediate Release: Saturday, April 14, 2012  
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Click Here to Download the Governor's Line Item Veto Message

AUGUSTA – Early Saturday morning, Governor Paul LePage chose to line item veto two items in the General Fund Second Supplemental Budget proposal. This is the first time a Maine Governor has used the line item veto privilege. The two measures the Governor vetoed were related to General Assistance welfare funding and Disproportionate Share Hospital funding.

While the original General Assistance proposal featured tangible, long-term structural changes, the Legislature’s amendment proposes short-term, one-time changes that expire at the end of SFY 2013. These include savings from pilot projects and work groups that are difficult to understand and impossible to predict.

General Assistance has been underfunded significantly in the past and this amendment assures that this trend will continue. The General Fund spending has grown from 6.7 million in SFY 2008 to a projected $14.3 million in SFY 2013. Without significant structural change, that growth will continue. Additionally, the Legislature has allowed for nine months of ‘emergency’ housing support to continue in the welfare program. Nearly 90 percent of General Assistance funding pays for housing, which is far from its original intent. The original plan limited housing assistance to 90 days.

"General Assistance is a welfare program that, like most others, has gotten out of control," said Governor LePage. "The amounts vetoed will put this issue back on the table and the Legislature must summon the political courage to fix the program structurally. Hiding from our problems will not make them go away. The Maine people expect leadership and those in Augusta must deliver," added the Governor.

The second item Governor LePage vetoed relates the Legislature’s revisions to the Supplemental Budget involving Disproportionate Share Hospital funding. The federal government has clarified that Disproportionate Share Hospital funding provided in the Medicaid program cannot be used for those involuntarily in secure public institutions, like Riverview Psychiatric Center (RPC), as a result of criminal charges. About half of the patients at RPC fall into this category.

The Legislature’s modified proposal recognizes that some of the forensic population is not eligible for federal funding. But by failing to change the funding for all forensic populations, the Department is being asked to continue to draw federal funding for a population that is not eligible for reimbursement. The Legislature’s revisions ignored rules governing federal compliance and audit warnings from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General’s Office.

http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=Portal+News&id=37237...

###

Islander
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At least someone is doing

At least someone is doing what they were elected to do.

thistle
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LePage knocks lawmakers over

LePage knocks lawmakers over lack of courage
By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA -- ...LePage told lawmakers they had not made enough structural changes in General Assistance to gain his support.

House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, released a statement...that...cities and towns will face higher property taxes if the vetoes stand.

The House and the Senate...had not planned to return to Augusta until May 15....

Legislators have five days to vote on [vetoed items]. [T]hese [vetoes] require only a majority to be overridden.

http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/lepage-knocks-lawmakers-over-lack-of-...

jimcooncat
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How does Maine's line item

How does Maine's line item veto provision work? If the Gov vetoes a portion of a bill, but that makes other parts of the bill which he didn't veto nonsensical, does the remaining bill go back to the revisor's office, committees or the floor again?

Naran
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One of the vetoes concerns a

One of the vetoes concerns a $1.4M program involving 7 part-time jobs. That's about $200K per job, to save folks the math.

thistle
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Joined: 08/15/2009 - 9:46am
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2012

Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2012 10:30:16 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jason Savage
Subject: Governor LePage's Saturday vetoes

Friends,

It's fitting that we're sending you this message on April 15, the traditional deadline for filing your income taxes with the state and federal government.

As Maine residents, we face another deadline this year - it's a deadline for financial sanity - and it looms large on our calendar later this week.

Yesterday Governor LePage used the line item veto on the recently passed state budget. His reasoning for the veto was simple: General Assistance welfare spending has grown out-of-control. 

Does this shock anyone?

General Assistance welfare spending has more than doubled over the past five years, from $6.7 million in fiscal year 2008 to a projected $14.3 million in fiscal year 2013. Some communities currently receive 90% reimbursement from the state, others receive only 50%.

With the state picking up the tab for 90% is there any incentive for these communities to tighten their belts or encourage people to move from dependency to independence and greater self worth?

More than 90% of General Assistance spending pays for housing, yet we have numerous other state programs, and an entire quasi-state agency dedicated to providing housing. How much welfare spending is enough?

And, how many times have we seen headlines in recent years that the 'state will be forced to repay federal government' for improper billing, ineligible services, etc.?

Well, we will do it all over again if the current budget passes as it stands. The other reason for Governor LePage's vetoes is that the Appropriations Committee was clearly told that we cannot draw down federal funds for hospital patients facing criminal charges, but they included it in the budget anyway.

Any responsible administration would be forced to veto this line - especially knowing that taxpayers will be on the hook for future repayments for misspent funds.

Now, the legislature is looking at spending even more of your money to bring the House and Senate back into session to override this veto. That's right, they very well could decide to spend more of your money in order to continue a failed welfare safety net that has become a shackle.

Go here now, contact your House Rep. and Senator and tell them to resist coming back into session next week and stand with the Governor. It's time to stop the spending, stop the waste and put in place real, true structural reforms.

If Maine communities have long-term housing needs, they should work with Maine Housing and DHHS and use existing welfare programs. General Assistance is not and was never intended to be an 'Affordable Housing' program.

General Assistance should not be an 'add-on' program to bulk up benefits to recipients already receiving other state welfare benefits like TANF.

General Assistance should be a short-term safety net to those who suddenly face hardship, it should not be an economic development tool for Maine communities, or a way of life for Maine people.

Go here now, contact your House Rep. and Senator and tell them to resist coming back into session next week and stand with the Governor. It's time to stop the spending, stop the waste and put in place real, true structural reforms.

Friends, it's time for some courage in Augusta.

If they are worried about the next election - let's encourage that worry from those of us who know that Maine cannot continue on the same path of the past.

We can't spend what we don't have. More than that, we can't continue on a path that doubles welfare spending every five years.

It's time to call for courage in Augusta.

Go here now, contact your House Rep. and Senator and tell them to resist coming back into session next week and stand with the Governor. It's time to stop the spending, stop the waste and put in place real, true structural reforms.  

And remember this -- when your elected official responds that they're concerned about 'shifting the burden to communities' the answer is very simple - your tax dollars are already being spent.

It's a question of whether you have a voice in your local budget or if you want to continue to grow welfare spending at the state level where you have less control.

Don't let them off the hook on the 'shifting the burden' argument. It's time to reduce the burden, both at the local and state level, not just argue about where Augusta should place the burden.

Sincerely,
Jason Savage

Watcher
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The Maine Heritage Policy

The Maine Heritage Policy center in its new release applauded LePage for being a leader in protecting the people and condemned the Maine legislature for once again capitulating to the tax and spend Liberals.

Naran
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Editorial: Line-Item Vetoes

Editorial: Line-Item Vetoes Necessary to Correct Legislature’s Mistakes

The Maine Wire
April 15th, 2012

Governor... LePage...doing exactly what he’s promised Mainers.... rein in spending to lower the tax burden...If only... Republican-led legislature had ...same focus.

... Appropriations Committee...modifications to the Governor’s budgets ... water down real reform. ... Governor LePage...exercising...rare tool to make sure... government doesn’t...live outside ...its means—...line-item veto.
...snip

Governor LePage’s refusal to capitulate... on these budget issues should be applauded. If ...GOP want another shot at running the legislature... they should take a lesson in leadership from the second floor.

[url=http://www.themainewire.com/2012/04/editorial-line-item-vetoes-correct-l...

Naran
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Worth a review - sometimes

Worth a review - sometimes it's the management of GA assistance that's too expensive, not the actual need for the assistance.

***************

Town of Windham Moves General Assistance In-House to Cut Costs

by Terrilyn Simpson

The Maine Wire
February, 2012

...snip
The town of Windham.... opted not to renew the contract with a non-profit agency handling the town’s general assistance program. Last year... under the administration of the People’s Regional Opportunity Program (PROP), the town’s general assistance budget...$450,000. As of January 10, 2012 – halfway through the town’s fiscal year — the town, handling its own program, has spent $25,000.

[url=http://www.themainewire.com/2012/02/town-windham-moves-general-assistanc...

*********

That is a huge savings. So much for the "wisdom" of using outside agencies to handle these kinds of programs. Too much bureaucracy = too much cost for the same services.

If your town or city is using PROP to administer the GA programs, I'd be asking for a review. If Windham is even partially "average" with regard to the resulting savings, it's worth a look.

Bruce Libby
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Mainelion where is the

Mainelion where is the dog??????

M.D. Harmon
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I wrote a PH column a couple

I wrote a PH column a couple of weeks ago on the federal court's pro-LePage decision on the Labor Dept. mural, finishing with a note that if "art" really is inviolable if it's state-sponsored, then there should be huge posters of Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater and Milton Friedman hanging from all four sides of the State House and liberals could never remove them. I got an email from a non-fan saying, "Next thing, you'll want a statue of Paul LePage on the grounds!"

So, now that I've read this, all I can ask is, how do we start the fund-raising campaign for the statue?

Beth O'Connor
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MD Harmon...I think you are

MD Harmon...I think you are tryng to cause a ruckus ( :

Naran
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MD - I propose we combine the

MD - I propose we combine the statue funding efforts with the [url=http://www.asmainegoes.com/content/maine-taxpayers-united-will-lead-anot... campaign by MTU to gather petition signatures for another try at TABOR.[/url]

The same people who will sign for TABOR would likely be happy to give $5 for a statue of Gov. Paul LePage on the State House grounds.
:)

Since AMG is an equal-political-opportunity forum, we should strive to be inclusive, too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Design Ideas:


Conservative Version

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Liberal Version

I welcome other interpretations.

Naran
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Interesting reader comment

Interesting reader comment from the BDN page on the veto story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JohnlPainter wrote:

... Legislatures approval of LD1903...concerning ...part of it...violation of federal law... Sec. 1923. 42 U.S.C. 1396r–4 ...Social Security Act.

...the Governor correctly interpreted federal law, and vetoed line 0105 in LD1903, which reads; "Adjusts funding to reflect correct reimbursements to Riverview Psychiatric Center and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center from MaineCare" ....

It is illegal to bill Medicaid for people in Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD), jails/prisons, it is the full responsibility of the state. .....

[url=http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/14/news/state/lepage-uses-line-item-v... the rest here - scroll down for comments.[/url]

Editor
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April 17, 2012 JOINT

April 17, 2012

JOINT STATEMENT OF SENATE PRESIDENT KEVIN RAYE
AND HOUSE SPEAKER BOB NUTTING

Article IV, Part Third, Section 1 of Maine’s Constitution provides that
the “Legislature may convene on the call of the President of the Senate and
Speaker of the House, with consent of the majority of the members of the
Legislature of each political party, all Members of the Legislature having first been
polled.”

Senate Minority Leader Barry Hobbins and House Minority Leader Emily
Cain indicated in a letter to us today that they have polled Democratic legislators,
and that a majority of them have consented to convening the Legislature.

The Senate Majority Office and the Speaker’s Office have also informed us
that they have polled Republican legislators today, and two-thirds of them have
declined to consent to convening the Legislature.

Given that we do not have the consent of a majority of members of both
parties, the Legislature will not convene this week. However, as the FY 2013
supplemental budget will be considered in May, the Legislature will have an
opportunity at that point to weigh the issues addressed by the Governor’s line-
item veto. In light of that, convening the Legislature this week would be an
unnecessary exercise and expense.

###

April 17, 2012

Senator Barry J. Hobbins
Senate Minority Leader
State House Station 3
Augusta, Maine 04333

Representative Emily A. Cain
House Minority Leader
State House Station 2
Augusta, Maine 04333

Dear Senator Hobbins and Representative Cain,

Thank you for your letter earlier today regarding Governor LePage’s line-item vetoes of several
allocations in LD 1903.

As you noted, Article IV, Part Third, Section 1 of Maine’s Constitution provides that
the “Legislature may convene on the call of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the
House, with consent of the majority of the members of the Legislature of each political party, all
Members of the Legislature having first been polled.”

You indicated to us that you have polled Democratic legislators, and that a majority of them have
consented to convening the Legislature.

The Senate Majority Office and the Speaker’s Office have likewise informed us that they
have polled Republican legislators today, and two-thirds of them have declined to consent to
convening the Legislature.

Inasmuch as we do not have the consent of a majority of members of both parties, the Legislature
will not convene this week. However, as the FY 2013 supplemental budget will be considered in
May, the Legislature will have an opportunity at that point to weigh the issues addressed by the
Governor’s line-item veto.

Sincerely,

KEVIN L. RAYE
President of the Senate

ROBERT W. NUTTING
Speaker of the House

Cc: Secretary of the Senate
Clerk of the House

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
Keep up your good work,

Keep up your good work, governor!

Robert Reed
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Residency requirements before

Residency requirements before becoming eligible for state or local assistance could reduce much of what is currently spent....why was this NOT addressed as it seems like the most basic step in stemming the flow of funds?

Stavros Mendros
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Because shifting spending is

Because shifting spending is so much easier than cutting spending.

thistle
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Maine Republicans decide not

Maine Republicans decide not to return for vetoes
By GLENN ADAMS

Republicans said bringing lawmakers back to the State House this week would be "an unnecessary exercise and expense" because they will have an opportunity to weigh the issues raised by the governor when they return in May to take up other budget matters.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-04/D9U7DE7G4.htm

thistle
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Joined: 08/15/2009 - 9:46am
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2012

Contact:
Jim Cyr
(207)287-1305

Statement from House Speaker Robert Nutting on Freedom of Access Request

AUGUSTA – In compliance with the Freedom of Access Act, the House Speaker’s Office has provided the Minority Offices with documents related to the internal polling done among House Republicans on whether to reconvene to consider the governor’s line-item vetoes.

An overwhelming majority voted not to reconvene. When polled, 53 responded with a no vote and 21 voted yes. As of late Tuesday when we finalized our results, we had been unable to reach four Republican House members. Our polling also included Independent Benjamin Chipman as the Maine Constitution requires all members of the Legislature to be polled.

The Constitution does not specify how the polling is to be done. My office used an anonymous poll, which is used frequently by both Republican and Democrat caucuses in other matters, such as electing caucus leaders.
                                 
It is important to note that this is the first time since I was elected to the Legislature in 1998 that the Minority Office has served the House Speaker’s Office with a FOAA request.

It is clear to me that because the Democrats don’t like the results, they are now more interested in playing political games than in addressing important issues like General Assistance funding and payments to our mental health hospitals.

My caucus is focused on dealing with these issues and will work over the next month to craft solutions that most legislators and the Governor will find acceptable.

The Legislature will reconvene on May 15; and I hope that the Democrats will soon put aside the gamesmanship and move forward with the legislative business at hand.

####

Editor
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Audio: GOP Line-Item Veto

Audio: GOP Line-Item Veto Response Has Maine Democrats Crying Foul
04/18/2012 Reported By: A.J. Higgins

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
If the Democrats are truly

If the Democrats are truly interested in knowing the results of the poll, they are free to contact every single R legislator and ask the question themselves. I guess they're more invested in political nitpickery.

J. McKane
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Joined: 05/22/2005 - 12:01am
I guess they're more invested

I guess they're more invested in political nitpickery.

From “Mural-gate to “look what LePage said now!” we’ve seen an inordinate amount of “political nitpickery" in the 125th. And that’s all it is. Hundreds of great bills passed, needed reform in all areas, and they have done nothing but nitpick.

It is more that nitpicking, however. Their work against these common sense reforms is the continued Democrat “War on Maine."

Bob S
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Joined: 07/15/2011 - 8:59am
Their work against these

Their work against these common sense reforms is the continued Democrat “War on Maine."

Can you tell us who they are? It seems there are a number of Republicans who are fighting LePages changes. Are you one of them Mr. McKane?

thistle
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Doug Rooks: Making It Up as

Doug Rooks: Making It Up as He Goes Along?

In this column, Democrat illusionist Doug Rooks conjures up in Maine Senate and House Rules the word reconvene where it doesn't exist. Doing so may help move the Maine Democrat spin on Maine Republican response to Governor LePage's line item veto forward. But to what extent is Mr. Rooks helping Seacoastonline.com readers?

LePage, GOP lawmakers have an unhealthy alliance
April 22, 2012 2:00 AM

Gov. LePage posed a dilemma for the GOP when, after saying he wouldn't sign a supplemental budget lawmakers passed overwhelmingly.., instead used his line-item veto.
__________

The line-item veto, added to the state constitution in 1995, had never been used before. When a governor vetoes, the Legislature has five days to act. Legislative rules say lawmakers "shall" reconvene to consider the line-item veto, which can be overridden by majority vote....

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20120422-OPINION-204220313

__________

Maine Senate Rules

Part 1: General Provisions

Rule 523. Line-item veto . When a bill or resolve is returned by the Governor with any dollar amount disapproved pursuant to the Governor's line-item veto power, the Senate shall act upon the disapproved item or items within 5 calendar days, excepting Sundays, of receiving the bill or resolve from the Governor or within the remaining balance of time available after receiving the bill or resolve from the House.

__________

Maine House Rules

Part 5 - Proceedings and Debates

Rule 521. Veto . When a bill or resolve is returned by the Governor with any dollar amount disapproved pursuant to the Governor's line-item veto power, the House shall act upon the disapproved item or items within 5 days of receiving the bill or resolve from the Governor.

__________

Here's that part of Maine's Constitution outlining steps necessary for the Legislature to reconvene when not in Regular Session. [Emphasis added]. Note that what Republican Leaders did follows the Constitution, is consistent with the respective Rules of the Senate and House.

Article IV. -- Part Third. Legislative Power.

Section 1. To meet annually; power of Legislature to convene itself at other times; extent of legislative power. The Legislature shall convene on the first Wednesday of December following the general election in what shall be designated the first regular session of the Legislature; and shall further convene on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday of January in the subsequent even-numbered year in what shall be designated the second regular session of the Legislature; provided, however, that the business of the second regular session of the Legislature shall be limited to budgetary matters; legislation in the Governor's call; legislation of an emergency nature admitted by the Legislature; legislation referred to committees for study and report by the Legislature in the first regular session; and legislation presented to the Legislature by written petition of the electors under the provisions of Article IV, Part Third, Section 18. The Legislature shall enact appropriate statutory limits on the length of the first regular session and of the second regular session. The Legislature may convene at such other times on the call of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, with the consent of a majority of the Members of the Legislature of each political party, all Members of the Legislature having been first polled. The Legislature, with the exceptions hereinafter stated, shall have full power to make and establish all reasonable laws and regulations for the defense and benefit of the people of this State, not repugnant to this Constitution, nor to that of the United States.

thistle
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Maine Senate

Maine Senate Republicans
April 23, 2012

This past Sunday (April 22), the Portland Press Herald newspapers ran an editorial alleging “Republicans fail to honor their word.” The piece went on to erroneously claim that we took a “secret vote” to undermine a budget compromise (Senate Republicans released the results of the vote on Wednesday, April 18, and it appeared in the Bangor Daily News 4/19). We assert that it is the Portland Press Herald that “failed to honor its word” when it promised to publish our reasons for not calling the legislature back into session ahead of schedule.

When the decision to wait until May 15th (when the Legislature is scheduled to return) was made, Senate Republicans attempted to proactively state the reasons for our decision. On Wednesday, 4/18, at 2:45 PM, Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich was eager to run an opinion piece from Senators Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) and Ron Collins (R-York) on the subject. The column was submitted to Mr. Kesich @ 10:49 AM on Thursday, 4/19. Our opinion piece was scheduled to appear in the Portland Press Herald on Saturday (4/21). We received an acknowledgment email later that day from Greg Kesich stating “Good piece. I'll use it Friday” (4/20).

Now, four days later, our piece has still not run and we dismayed by the total lack objectivity on the part of the newspaper. Why can’t readers be presented with competing opinions and make up their own minds?

Here is the piece in question:

_______________

Opinion Column
April 19, 2012

Legislative Republicans will address the general assistance shortfall in a responsible manner that protects taxpayers from unnecessary costs

By Senator Mike Thibodeau and Senator Ron Collins

Just last week, Governor LePage utilized a previously unused provision in Maine law: the line item veto. Passed during the King administration and supported by voters in a statewide referendum, the line-item veto can be used by Governors to object to portions of a budget without vetoing the entire document.

The two items Governor LePage chose to veto were a portion of the additional funds needed to cover a projected shortfall in the FY 2013 General Assistance allocation, and $3 million in “disproportionate share” funding to hospitals and psychiatric facilities in order to offset losses in federal funding. If the Legislature were meeting, we would take up a Governor’s veto within the prescribed time limit of five days. However, the Legislature is adjourned until May 15th, when we will return to finalize work on the FY 2013 supplemental budget.

Given the fact that the Legislature will be returning next month, legislators had to decide if it made sense to reconvene again within five days solely to deal with the line-item veto.

Maine’s Constitution – specifically Article IV, Part Third, Section 1 - provides that the Legislature may convene on the call of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, with consent of the majority of the members of the Legislature of each political party, all members of the Legislature having first been polled. Based upon this provision, and a letter from the House and Senate Democratic leaders, we conducted the poll of members of both parties required to grant consent to reconvening the Legislature. It failed when two-thirds of legislative Republicans declined to give consent to coming in this week.

As two Senators who voted not to reconvene, we are writing to highlight the reasoning behind our decision. There is plenty of time to address the issues contained in the vetoes in a thoughtful, responsible manner that is both timely and respectful of the extra costs that would have been borne by taxpayers had we added yet another session day.

It is important to note that the supplemental budget we passed will fund the general assistance shortfall for the 2012 fiscal year that ends June 30th. The line-item vetoes strike a portion of the projected additional appropriations needed to cover the general assistance shortfall in the fourth quarter of next year’s budget.

The vetoes leave in place several policy changes we made that will help us to address the issues going forward. For example, a Department of Health and Human Services working group will proceed to review General Assistance Program rules and regulations and make recommendations to the Legislature no later than December 1, 2012. The focus of this stakeholder group is to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, uniformity, and financial accountability of the program. The budget passed by the Legislature also includes a reduction of the current reimbursement rate to service center municipalities from 90 percent to 85 percent and a nine month cap on housing, with some hardship exceptions. Even if the Legislature were to wait until January 2013 to act, it will have a full four months to address the projected shortfall.

The Legislature is now in recess until May 15th, pending revised revenue estimates due at the end of April and the work of the Appropriations Committee once those figures are available. When we return, we will act on the second FY 2013 supplemental budget, which addresses the estimated $85 million shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Reconvening the Legislature before May 15th would cost taxpayers an estimated $15,000 per day at a time when we are seeking ways to eliminate unnecessary costs. None of the items addressed in the line item vetoes will occur before we have the opportunity to address the issues.

As legislators, we have a responsibility to carefully weigh the issues and act in the best interests of sound policy and fiscal responsibility for the people of Maine. In short, convening the Legislature this week would have been an unnecessary exercise and expense. We will continue to work to address the general assistance shortfall and ensure that the program protects Maine’s most vulnerable citizens and is financially sustainable for taxpayers.

###

Senator Mike Thibodeau chairs the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee and is a member of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee. He represents Maine Senate District 23 which includes all of Waldo County.

Sen. Ron Collins chairs the Transportation Committee and is a member of the State and Local Government Committee. Collins represents Maine State Senate District 2 which includes the York County towns of Acton, Berwick, Cornish, Lebanon, Limerick, Newfield, North Berwick, Parsonsfield, Shapleigh, and Wells. Collins chairs the 125th Legislature’s Transportation Committee.

Naran
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Joined: 10/06/2004 - 12:01am
Maybe when the MTM papers get

Maybe when the MTM papers get tired of the endless puffery concerning King ('He promises to run nice!' ...'150% of liberal Maine women love him!') they could get around to printing pieces from elected Maine legislators.

I wonder if Kesich is in deep kinshee for agreeing to run the piece from Thibodeau and Collins before checking with the Duke and Duchess of North Haven.

Hay Farmer
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I got this email from MMA

I got this email from MMA today regarding a "General Assistance Study".

From: Kate Dufour
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:17 AM
To: 'ebulletin@imail.memun.org'
Subject: General Assistance Study - Interested Parties List

To: Key Municipal Officials & General Assistance Administrators

From: Kate Dufour

Date: May 30, 2012

Re: General Assistance Study – Interested Parties List

On April 12, 2012 the Legislature enacted LD 1903, An Act To Make Additional Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2012 and June 30, 2013. This Act makes the non-Medicaid related funding changes necessary to balance the FY 2012 – FY 2013 General Fund budget that was adopted by the Legislature in 2011.

LD 1903 includes a directive to the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to convene a nine-member working group to review the General Assistance (GA) program and make recommendations for attaining $500,000 in the state’s share of the GA budget. Those savings must be achieved in the second half of FY 2013, which runs from January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013.

Call For Interested Parties. Although only nine members will be appointed to the working group, we want to make sure that municipal officials have an opportunity to have their voices heard and be kept up-to-date on the progress of the working group. For that reason, we are creating a 2012 GA working group “interested parties” list. Members of the list will receive regular updates regarding the progress of the working group and will be asked to provide feedback on proposed recommendations, as warranted.

Municipal officials interested in being included on the list are asked to provide Kate Dufour with contact information, including, name, email address, and telephone number. Kate can be reached at kdufour@memun.org or 1-800-452-8786.

What follows is a description of the working group’s membership, charge, report deadline, and June meeting schedule.

Working Group Membership and Charge. Seven of nine representatives on the working group are voting members, and include two DHHS appointees, three municipal appointees, one advocate for low-income individuals, and the executive director of the Maine State Housing Authority. Non-voting members include a representative with knowledge of federal Veterans Administration programs and a person with knowledge of affordable housing programs.

In addition to identifying $500,000 in General Fund savings, the working group is charged with:

· Proposing suggestions for electronic data exchange between municipalities and DHHS to increase efficiency in verifying GA eligibility;

· Examining the structure of the state/municipal GA program and making recommendations to improve accountability, cost effectiveness and uniformity;

· Reviewing the role of the GA program in funding homeless shelter services;

· Evaluating the appropriateness and necessity of limiting GA benefits to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients; and

· Reviewing the pilot program to be administered by DHHS to maximize access to federal assistance programs for which GA applicants may be eligible.

Report Back Date. The Commissioner must report the study group’s findings and recommendations to the Appropriations Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee no later than December 1, 2012.

Municipal Representatives. Although not all appointments have been made, we do know that the three municipal appointees include Doug Gardiner, Human Services Director for the City of Portland; Stacy Para, Rockport Welfare Director and President of the Maine Welfare Directors Association; and Kate Dufour, representing the Maine Municipal Association.

June Meeting Schedule. The Department has already scheduled four meetings, which will take place on June 8, June 14, June 20 and June 28. All meetings will be held at the DHHS offices on State Street in Augusta, and with the exception of June 8, meetings are scheduled to run from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The June 8 meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Thank you for your interest in this important matter. Please contact Kate at the email or number listed above for inclusion on the 2012 GA Interested Parties List.

Ugenetoo
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Joined: 08/05/2011 - 12:32pm
It's too bad there wasn't a

It's too bad there wasn't a rep from some of the smaller towns where the GA budget has been kept in check.
Some of these folks could give the big spenders some tips.

alter ego
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Joined: 12/28/2010 - 9:40pm
http://pinetreepolitics.bango
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