February/March 2007

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Governor signs into law additions to the 2007 budget that increases broadband accessibility, pays down hospital debts, and provides disaster relief. Photo by Ramona du Houx

By Ramona du Houx

When emergencies arise, or when negotiations settle issues that have been pending, or when a new issue happens that needs to be dealt with immediately, additions to the budget that has already been passed are necessary. These issues are dealt with in a supplemental appropriations bill. On February 13, 2007, Governor John Baldacci signed into law the Fiscal Year 2007 supplemental appropriations bill.

“With this supplemental budget, we have made significant progress in ensuring appropriate payment to Maine’s hospitals in a timely fashion,” said the Governor.

The bill provides for a direct appropriation of $20 million for hospital settlements and makes an additional down payment of $30 million to raise prospective payments to hospitals beginning July 1st of this year. The bill also provides for the capture of an additional $52 million in any surplus revenues to continue this commitment to Maine hospitals.

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“This bill is about state government keeping its promises to hospitals,” said Sen. Peggy Rotondo of the appropriations committee. (Rotondo is standing behind Gov. Baldacci next to Rep. Janet Mills. Photo by Ramona du Houx.)

The supplemental budget also provides funding to meet the State’s share of funding for disaster relief due to flooding over the past two years and provides funding to assist in moving the Canton downtown out of the flood zone.

Additionally, this appropriation will make broadband accessible to UMO, other higher education institutions, and Jackson Labs, enabling them to send research faster which makes Maine more competitive in the global economy.

“With this bill $3 million will support telecommunications infrastructure improvements, which will enhance opportunities for our research institutions and students,” said Governor Baldacci.

The legislation, as passed with 2/3 vote in both houses, took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signing.