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State of Maine works to maintain budget stability amid pandemic

Last week, the Governor announced $244-million in curtailments.
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maine state house(wabi)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The state of Maine is working to maintain budget stability after the Revenue Forecasting Committee projected a $528 million shortfall next year.

Last week, the Governor announced $244-million in curtailments.

“Basically a curtailment means that we’re setting the funds that you appropriated aside to prepare for the anticipated hole," said Commissioner with the Department of Administrative and Financial Services Kirsten Figueroa. "It doesn’t cut that appropriation it just sets aside and its adjustable.”

The Mills administration said Wednesday that $164 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds will go to Maine school districts.

This second round of funding will help pay for substitute teachers, technology, and other needs related to the pandemic.

“We have talked about education funding as a phase one and phase two for a total of approximately 325 million," Figueroa said.

Members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee questioned where the remaining $130 million in federal funds should go.

“There is not enough money for all of the need," Figueroa said. "We know that we need to make probably some decisions about testing.”

Phase two of the Economic Recovery Grant program for small businesses and non profits also started Wednesday.

Guidelines for eligibility have changed to include childcare and assisted living facilities.

“The Governor really wanted to focus in on small businesses and make sure they were covered and captured and nonprofits were covered and captured," said Heather Johnson, Commissioner with the Department of Economic and Community Development. "Phase 2 will take the remaining $95 million from the original $200 million.”

Up to $5 million will be used to support businesses less than a year old.

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