Democratics share their minority report for the DHHS 2013 budget which shows alternatives to the LePage ideological budget

BY RAMONA DU HOUX

May 15th, 2012 

Democrats presented an alternative proposal to Gov. Paul LePage’s budget that makes the necessary adjustments to bring the budget into balance. It is responsible and prevents the harmful and risky cuts implemented in the Republican proposal.

The Democratic lawmakers proposal includes a cost-saving MaineCare restructuring initiative that will deliver more efficient health care services; a cost-saving provider-fraud recovery program, and also increases funding for the state’s rainy day fund.

The Democratic legislators solution transfers $60 million in increased revenue re-projections from 2012 and 2013 budgets to help close the gap. They also provide approximately $28 million in savings initiatives, including a provider fraud recovery savings of $5 million, salary savings of $1 million, a MaineCare restructuring task force that projects a savings of $10 million, approximately $8 million in revenue transfers from other accounts, the restructuring of Health and Human Services, and other additional items.

The Democratic lawmakers propose to transfer $5 million into the state’s rainy day fund or the budget stabilization account and pay for the operating costs of the Dolby Landfill. That measure would leave about a $651,485 surplus balance.

Members of the Democratic caucus believe that the GOP proposal unnecessarily removes access to health care and services for thousands of children and seniors, while adding to the state’s unfunded tax cuts. Last year, a tax cut was passed that left a $400 million gap. In addition, the new cuts will cost $34 million in the next biennial budget.

The LePage administration proposal also relies on risky waivers from the federal government, which we’ve already been told won’t be allowed. It books millions of dollars in savings on waivers that the federal government already said would be rejected because they violate federal law.