Entries Filed in 'Budgets'

Alexander Group, hired by LePage admin, releases $1 million report with information copied directly from the CNPP

May 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news, Health Care

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The controversial Alexander Group, hired by the LePage administration, lifted portions of its $1 million taxpayer funded report released last week directly from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report.

“The deeply flawed and controversial Alexander report is a case study in government waste,” said Congressman Mike Michaud. “It has never been anything more than a political document meant to further Gov. LePage’s re-election. This latest disclosure that elements of the report were plagiarized from the good work of another organization further demonstrates that the LePage administration has wasted nearly $1 million that could have been used to help working-class families, improve education and meet other important priorities. This contract has been mismanaged from day one. Mainers should demand their money back.”

The news broke in a Bangor Daily News editorial that reported:

“We don’t think professional standards would include excerpting significant chunks of text without quotation marks,” said Liz Schott, a senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ welfare reform and income support division and one of the report’s three authors. “They listed text and made it appear like their own, and, yes, that appears to be plagiarism.”

Speaker of the House Mark Eves had this to say,”Governor LePage should not waste another taxpayer dime on his failed Tea Party contractor. From the start, this no-bid $1 million Alexander Group contract has been an egregious waste of taxpayer dollars spent only to benefit the Governor’s campaign. It is mismanagement, plain and simple. The contract should be canceled and our money refunded. While the Governor has squandered taxpayer dollars on this sham report, the real problem of rising child poverty and homelessness in our state has gone unaddressed. The best anti-poverty program is a good job and right now Maine ranks among the worst in the nation for job growth. It’s time for real leadership and problem solving.”

Rep. Richard Farnsworth of Portland and Senator Margaret Craven of Lewiston, co-chairs of the Health and Human Services Committee, introduced a measure to cancel the contract during the Legislative session. Governor LePage vetoed the bill and his Republican allies sustained that veto earlier this month.

The Governor awarded the controversial consultant Gary Alexander the $1 million no-bid contract last September despite Alexander’s record of mismanagement and failed policies in Pennsylvania. As the head of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Alexander cost state taxpayers $7 million and took healthcare away from 89,000 children.

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Some of LePage’s vetoes overturned by lawmakers

May 1st, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news

Now Governor Paul LePage has the record of vetoes from a standing governor in Maine. On Thursday a number of them were overturned by lawmakers. Affordable healthcare with funding from the federal government for the Affordable Care Act did not happen nor did a measure for food hubs. However the budget veto was overwhelmingly overridden.

The following is a comprehensive list.

VETOES STARTING IN THE SENATE:

LD 347, An Act To Amend Insurance Coverage for Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Lachowicz)
SRC (enactment): 29-5
HRC (accept OTP-A report): 101-38
SENATE OVERRODE: 30-5; HOUSE OVERRODE
LAW

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LePage Adminsitration wastes another $123,360 to failed contractor

April 28th, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news, Community Maine

Maine's capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx


Governor Paul LePage continues to waste taxpayer funds on the no-bid contract with the Alexander Group even though additional reports required by the contract have not been made public and are months late. On April 18, the administration made another payment of $123,360 bringing total taxpayer dollars spent on the failed contract to $501,760 total, according to payment records from the non-partisan Legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program Review.

The LePage Administration contract is expected to cost Maine taxpayers $1 million.

The Alexander Group was hired by Governor LePage to study the state’s safety net programs and Medicaid expansion. The first report from the consulting firm was a month late, contained serious flaws, and a $575 million accounting error. The firm’s director, Gary Alexander, served as the director of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare, where his mismanagement and failed policies cost Pennsylvania taxpayers $7 million and resulted in 89,000 children losing health care.

“This is one of the most blatant examples of a waste of taxpayer dollars that I have ever seen. It’s outrageous,” said Rep. Richard Farnsworth, the House Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “To top it off, there is nothing to show for it except a bogus report on the expansion of healthcare for nearly 70,000 Mainers.”

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LePage vetoed budget that eliminates and reduces DHHS wait lists for people with disabilities, ups reimbursements for nursing homes

April 27th, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Governor Paul LePage’s vetoed a $32 million budget fix. The funding measure eliminates waitlists for care for people with disabilities and will help prevent nursing homes in rural areas from closing their doors.

“Republicans, Democrats and independents in the Legislature came together to do their jobs and pass a supplemental budget. Gov. LePage refused to do his job and was absent from the budget process, and now has vetoed the hard work of others,” said Congressman Mike Michaud. “It’s time for such political stunts, gamesmanship and divisiveness to end.”

The measure was passed unanimously in the Senate with a vote of 35 to 0 and by a vote of 133 to 8 in the House.

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Will LePage continue to hold Maine back by vetoing innovation bonds and healthcare?

April 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Editorials, Issue 40

Maine's capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Other New England states have recovered almost all the job losses due to the Great Recession. Maine stands alone as the only east coast state that has built back less than half the jobs caused by the economic crash. Not the kind of reputation Maine needs, and most of blame falls at the feet of Governor Paul LePage with his dangerous policies and way of governance.

He hurts the state’s reputation by putting down the people of Maine and discourages businesses owners who may be looking to Maine to locate in. He has publicly badmouthed the President, Maine lawmakers, women, students and children. A governor should be promoting the great qualities the people Maine have— their tireless work ethic, hospitality, ability to be easily trained and their community mindfulness. Not to mention the amazing natural attributes the state has from mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and a 2,000-mile long coast.

Last year the Legislature approved bonds for infrastructure improvements and the people of Maine voted for them. This year LePage used these bonds as a bargaining tool (again) by refusing to release them until he got what he demanded. Meanwhile thousands of construction workers were delayed from working. They had to wait until LePage was done using them as pawns.

This session a $50 million bond proposal passed the Legislature, of that $40 million are for an innovation/small business bond proposal was approved by the Legislature.

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Budget eliminates and reduces DHHS wait lists for people with disabilities, ups reimbursements for struggling nursing homes

April 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news, Health Care, Issue 40

Early Wednesday morning, lawmakers on the state’s budget-writing panel, the Appropriations Committee, unanimously endorsed a roughly $30 million budget proposal.

The funding measure closes a MaineCare shortfall in fiscal year 2015, while also funding $5 million for services for people with disabilities on the DHHS wait lists and $5 million in additional reimbursement for Maine’s struggling nursing homes.

“Our bipartisan proposal provides critical funding for our seniors, individuals with disabilities, and for those suffering from mental illness,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo. “For months, lawmakers have emphasized the importance of moving our most vulnerable citizens off of wait lists for homecare. At the same time, we’ve also heard from our nursing homes about the crisis they face, especially in rural areas, where some may be forced to close their doors. We took a responsible and collaborative approach to address both of these concerns.”

The funds would eliminate and reduce the wait lists, allowing hundreds of individuals with severe disabilities to get critical home based care services. It also provides $2 million for critical services required under the state’s court ordered mental health consent decree and increases funds for safety and security at Riverview and Dorothea Dix by $908,460.

“We’re grateful that the Appropriations Committee understands the value and services Dorothea Dix offers, being one of only two hospitals that help with the challenges our mentally ill face. However, the facility has not recovered from the state’s last cuts and we need to further enhance this unique asset’s mission by reopening and admitting more patients. The need has been clearly documented, now it’s time for the state to take real positive action protecting the health and wellbeing of our citizens and their communities,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

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Maine lawmakers kill LePage’s TABOR 3.0 Bill- which would have left a $100 million budget hole

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news

 Governor Paul LePage’s bill to resurrect the TABOR ballot initiative on Thursday was dealt a final blow.

In a vote of 86 to 55, the Maine House joined the state Senate in rejecting the irresponsible measure.

“The Governor’s proposal is TABOR 3.0. The people have already rejected this twice before,” said Rep. Seth Berry , the House Majority Leader. “This is nothing more than a campaign gimmick.”

Maine voters previously rejected TABOR proposals on the ballot in 2006 and 2009.

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Maine’s compromise bipartisan budget bill becomes law

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

A compromise bipartisan bill to close a gap in the state’s two-year budget became law today without the Governor’s signature. LD 1843, closes a $40 million gap in fiscal year 2014 and a $18 million gap in fiscal year 2015.

“Our bipartisan budget pays our bills, protects critical education dollars, and keeps our commitments to our workers,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, the House Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “Maine people can count on lawmakers to work together to solve our problems and show leadership even when the Governor is unwilling to do so.”

In an unprecedented move, Governor Paul LePage refused to propose a budget despite shortfalls at his Departments.

The budget restores Governor Paul LePage’s proposed cuts to K-12 funding, the early education program Head Start, and higher education. It also funds merit and longevity pay increases for state employees, which were previously negotiated but unpaid for by the Governor.

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Lawmakers pass budget shortfall and replenish rainy day fund with compromise measures

March 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news

Maine’s lawmakers pass budget shortfall bill and replenish rainy day fund with compromise measures that now go to Gov. LePage to be signed. The state’s budget writing committee unanimously approved both measures as part of a compromise on Wednesday.

“When we first started our work, our committee faced an unprecedented task to build a budget from scratch with no proposal and limited information from the Governor,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, the House chair of the Appropriations Committee. “Yet we prevailed despite the obstacles. I’m pleased and proud to see strong bipartisan votes on these measures, which pay our bills, protect education, and keep our commitments to our workers. We urge the Governor to sign both bills and finally release the voter-approved bonds.”

LD 1843, closes a $40 million gap in fiscal year 2014 and a $18 million gap in fiscal year 2015. LD 1807, which was proposed by Governor Paul LePage, would replenish the rainy day fund, or the state’s budget stabilization account, by $21 million. LePage has been using the amount of money in the rainy day fund as his latest political excuse to delay more than a $100 million in voter-approved jobs bonds.

“The resounding, bipartisan support of this budget reflects the commitment and responsibility of Maine legislators to pay the bills, and support students, workers, and our most vulnerable,” said Senator Dawn Hill who serves as the Senate Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “This budget was crafted under unprecedented circumstances, without collaboration from the governor. While that’s a shame, Democrats and Republicans overcame this challenge together and stand proud of our work.”

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Maine’s budget panel unanimously back bill to address the budget shortfall

March 19th, 2014 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Early this morning, lawmakers on the state’s budget-writing committee unanimously endorsed a proposal to address a shortfall in the state’s two-year budget. The committee also reached an agreement on replenishing the state’s rainy day fund.

“We were pleased to be able to come to an agreement that will both pay our bills and prevent cuts to our schools and young children,” said Representative Peggy Rotundo, the House Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “We were able to find common ground and solve our problems despite the challenges we faced with a Governor who refused to collaborate for the good of our people.”

The proposal closes a $40 million gap in fiscal year 2014 and a $18 million gap in fiscal year 2015. The committee also unanimously endorsed Governor Paul LePage’s proposal, LD 1807, to replenish the budget stabilization fund, also known as the “rainy day fund,” by $21 million. Initially, LD 1807 included a compromise amendment that would have restored LePage’s proposed cuts to K-12 funding, Head Start, higher education, and merit and longevity pay increases for state employees previously negotiated but unfunded by the Governor. The committee unanimously agreed to fold in the amendment to the budget bill.

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