“Putting People before Politics”: MECEP Backround Paper on Maine’s Biennial Budget

Maine’s leading nonprofit research and policy development organization urges lawmakers to “keep all options, not just budget cuts, on the table”
Augusta, Maine (Thursday, February 10, 2011)—As Governor Paul LePage prepares to present his proposed biennial budget to Maine legislators this morning, the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) released a background paper to provide a factual overview of Maine’s current budget challenges and inform the forthcoming debate. 

“In these troubling economic times, Maine must continue to invest in its people and infrastructure,” the paper states.  “MECEP urges the Legislature and Governor to consider all options and adopt a reasonable, balanced approach that preserves needed investments for roads, bridges, schools, health care and retiree security.  Maine’s economic future and the well-being and financial security of our families demand responsible fiscal stewardship that puts people before politics.”
The MECEP analysis emphasized that in recent years the Legislature has crafted “bipartisan budgets that both reflect our values and demonstrate fiscal restraint.” Maine has already significantly cut state spending and public sector jobs. MECEP notes that FY2011 General fund appropriations are lower than FY2005 and adjusted for inflation, lower than in FY1999.   MECEP cautions that relying solely on cuts to bridge the projected $840 million 2012-2013 budget shortfall could cost 20,000 public and private sector jobs, “roughly equivalent to laying off every public and private school teacher in Maine.”
“Our purpose in presenting this background paper is to encourage policies based on the facts, not anecdotes or ideology,”  MECEP Executive Director Christopher St. John said.  “We will be looking closely at the Governor’s proposal to make sure that it invests first in Maine’s people, to maintain basic services and equip them to compete in these challenging economic times.  We believe that prudent policy-making demands that our leaders keep all options, not just budget cuts, on the table.”
The background paper is available on here on MECEP’s website: People before Politics

As Maine’s leading non-profit research and policy development organization, MECEP provides expert analysis and advocates for fair, equitable state revenue and spending priorities that support working families, encourage economic growth and assure their opportunities for success.