AUGUSTA – The Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC) formally submitted their General Fund revenue forecast today to Governor Paul R. LePage and Maine Legislature. The forecast, which comes on the heels of a preliminary report issued earlier this week, is one of two required annually and was due no later than December 1, 2016.
As part of their forecast, the RFC projects an increase in General Fund revenues of $34.2 million for the current fiscal year, an increase of 1 percent. The adjusted forecast is realized with revenues above the previous forecast from sales, individual income tax collections, and corporate income tax filings.
“Reducing the tax burden on Mainers continues to prove itself as a good policy decision. Despite cutting taxes for more than half a million Maine families, our structural gap has been reduced significantly, businesses investment and job creation continues and our revenues remain strong,” said Governor LePage. “This proves that when you operate government in a business-like and effective manner, policymakers can focus on the issues that matter, such as welfare reform and economic development, rather than constantly scrambling to fill budget gaps.”
“This is precisely what makes passage of Question 2 and Question 4 so frustrating,” said the Governor. “Despite our success improving the economy and cutting taxes for Maine families, liberal special interest groups are fixated on returning Maine to its damaged past as a laboratory for socialist experiments that have failed in other states and countries.”
The Committee also reduced the forecast for the 2018/19 biennium by $31.6 million, a decrease of 0.4 percent, anticipating a decline in automobile sales following more than five year of robust growth.
“The Great Recession resulted in Americans from all walks of life making dramatic changes to their individual finances,” said Dr. Michael Allen, associate commissioner for tax policy. “As consumer confidence dipped, households began to limit their discretionary spending and large purchases. Mainers have been aggressive in replacing the automobiles they chose to retain during the recession. The Revenue Forecasting Committee expects that growth to slow in the coming years.”
The RFC consists of the Associate Commissioner for Tax Policy, the State Budget Officer, the State Economist, an economist on the faculty of the University of Maine System selected by the chancellor, the Director of the Office of Fiscal and Program Review and another member of the Legislature’s nonpartisan staff familiar with revenue estimating issues appointed by the Legislative Council.
Despite the positive news in Maine, several other states continue to face budget shortfalls. A small sample of recent news articles appears below:
- OregonLive.com: Gov. Brown proposes cuts, new taxes to close $1.7 billion budget shortfall
- Hartford Courant: State Workers’ Pensions, Retiree Health Care Fuel $1.3 Billion Budget Shortfall
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State projects $693 million shortfall
- The Kansas City Star: Kansas expects budget shortfall around $350 million this fiscal year
- WNAX Radio 570: South Dakota Budget Shortfall Could Hurt Ag Projects
- PennLive.com: State’s fiscal picture stays gloomy, according to Independent Fiscal Office report