For Immediate Release: Monday, July 30, 2018
Contact: David Heidrich, Director of Communications
Department of Administrative and Financial Services, (207) 624-7800
State’s Cash Position at Record Levels as Maine Begins New Fiscal Year
State of Maine ends fiscal year with $175.8 million surplus, financial reserves of $316.2 million.
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today that the State of Maine concluded fiscal year 2018, which ended on June 30, with an unappropriated surplus of $175.8 million.
Commitments from this balance occur as follows:
- $74.6 million carried forward as part of FY19 budget
- $350,000 to restore the Governor’s contingent account
- $1 million to the Loan Insurance Reserve Fund
- $2.5 million to the Reserve for General Fund Operating Capital
- $2 million to reduce the Unfunded Actuarial Liability in the Retiree Health Insurance Fund
In addition to these payments, State Controller Douglas Cotnoir issued final priority reserve transfers to both the State of Maine’s Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF) and Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents. The funds received transfers of $76.2 million and $19.1 million, respectively.
“Over the course of the last seven and a half years, our administration has been committed to a multi-year strategy of major structural reforms for state budgeting and fiscal management,” said Governor LePage. “Our philosophy is simple: Mainers expect a government that can live within its means. Today’s news reinforces the success of that philosophy and will provide my successor with the ability to focus on making investments in the future of our state rather than filling budget gaps.”
The current balance of the BSF is $272.9 million, while the Reserve for Tax Relief stands at $28.4 million. The Reserve for Operating Capital, which received $2.5 million, has a current balance of $14.9 million. In all, the State carried financial reserves totaling $316.2 million into the new fiscal year.
“Maine’s cash position is healthy and at historic highs,” continued Governor LePage. “Our tax reductions and reforms have been enacted responsibly, proving that cutting taxes—while controlling expenditures—can allow Mainers to keep more of their hard-earned money while still providing essential services and saving for an economic downturn.”
The State of Maine’s cash reserves and disciplined financial management should allow the General Fund to operate throughout fiscal year 2019 without internal borrowing or other mid-year adjustments.
“The balance of our state’s Budget Stabilization Fund is at an all-time high of $272.9 million,” added Finance Commissioner Alec Porteous. “That represents more than six-times the fund’s balance in 2012. Having this money in the bank provides an important backstop for sustained government operations in the event of a financial downturn. Also, coupling our state’s cash reserves with the fact that we no longer rely on accounting gimmickry demonstrates the effective financial management of the LePage administration.”
About the Budget Stabilization Fund
The Budget Stabilization Fund was created in 2003. The Fund replaced the Rainy Day Fund, which was created by the Legislature in 1985 to prepay outstanding General Fund bonds and to support major construction projects.
The Budget Stabilization Fund acts as the State of Maine’s savings account. It is a reserve balance that is set aside in good economic times to protect the state budget from the volatile changes in revenues that can occur when the economy unexpectedly slows. The goal of the Fund is to reduce the effect on the operation and services of state government and prevent policymakers from increasing taxes during sudden economic downturns.