Governor Mills Introduces Supplemental Budget Proposal

Proposal fulfills commitment to invest in housing, education, health care and to save for the future & includes new budget initiatives to complement Governor’s forthcoming public safety & mental health legislation

Governor Janet Mills today introduced a supplemental budget proposal that invests in urgent needs to support Maine people while saving money to preserve the state’s long-term fiscal health.

The Governor’s proposal – which is balanced as required by the Maine Constitution – funds previously announced initiatives to address urgent challenges, like housing, education, health care, the opioid epidemic and more. It also proposes saving $107 million to protect the State’s long-term fiscal health as other states face budget shortfalls.

The proposal also takes crucial steps to strengthen disaster response following three devastating storms, and it funds public safety and mental health initiatives included in the Governor’s forthcoming public safety legislation.

In introducing the proposal today, the Governor also unveiled new budget initiatives that complement her forthcoming public safety legislation. These initiatives would further strengthen public safety and bolster Maine’s mental health system.

“This proposal strikes the balance between making timely investments to address urgent needs – like public safety, mental health, housing, education, and health care – and saving money to ensure that our state continues to stand on strong fiscal footing in the future,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I look forward to working with the Legislature in the coming months to arrive at a budget that protects our fiscal health and that makes prudent investments to support the health, safety, and welfare of Maine people.”

“The supplemental budget is a balanced, prudent, and responsible proposal that advances the Governor’s long-held belief that we must continue to tackle pressing needs while ensuring fiscal sustainability in the long-run,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. “We hope the Legislature will see the value in these investments and recognize the importance of saving money to meet our obligations into the future.”

Improving Public Safety and Maine’s Mental Health System: In the wake of the tragedy in Lewiston, the Governor is proposing legislation – expected in the coming days – to improve public safety and strengthen Maine’s mental health system. The Governor today unveiled the following new supplemental budget initiatives to complement her forthcoming bill:

  • Supporting Mobile Crisis Teams: $2.8 million ($633,000 in ongoing General Fund) for Fiscal Year 2025, supplemented by enhanced Federal matching funds, to strengthen mobile crisis response through a comprehensive MaineCare (Medicaid) payment model. This model will support teams comprised of specially trained behavioral health responders including peers who de-escalate mental health and substance use crises, assess needs, and provide an appropriate level of care in the least restrictive setting. These teams, which are dispatched to the location of a person in crisis through 988 – Maine’s 24/7centralized crisis lifeline – are a critical safety-net service that the Mills Administration has effectively worked with providers and national experts for the past two years to improve. This budget initiative complements the Governor’s public safety legislation.
  • Promoting Safe Firearm Storage: $200,000 in one-time funding, supplemented by Federal matching funds, to enhance the promotion of Maine’s Safe Homes Program, which encourages Maine people to safely store firearms and highlights programs that make safe storage more affordable, like the tax exemption, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, for devices specifically designed to secure firearms. The Safe Homes Program was created by the Legislature and Governor in 2022. This budget initiative complements the Governor’s public safety legislation.
  • Hiring More State Troopers: $5.5 million ($3.6 million in General Fund) to establish 16 State Police Trooper positions, 4 State Police Corporal positions, 3 State Police Detective positions, 8 State Police Sergeant positions and one State Police Major position to allow Maine State Police to maintain Resource Coordination Agreements with counties and municipalities and continue rural policing throughout the state, providing for 24/7operations. This budget initiative complements the Governor’s public safety legislation.
  • Enhancing Funding for Extreme Risk Protection Order Assessments:$422,400 to support the surge in mental health assessments under the extreme risk protection order law since the tragedy in Lewiston. The Governor announced in her State of the State Address that the law has been used 15 times more often in the three months after the shooting in Lewiston than it had been used for the three previous years that it was on the books. This budget initiative supports the Governor’s public safety legislation.
  • Funding Victims’ Services: $6 million in one-time funding to address a Federal funding shortfall from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). The State funding will support community-based domestic violence and sexual assault services, civil legal representation for victims, victim witness advocates, and housing and supportive services for elder abuse victims.

The Governor is also funding other initiatives announced during her State of the State Addresses or by her Administration recently, including:

  • saving $107 million to protect the good fiscal standing of the state into the future;
  • delivering funding to help communities identify and strengthen infrastructure vulnerable to extreme weather;
  • addressing the urgent needs of Maine people, including investments to build housing, improve child safety, and fight the opioid epidemic;
  • funding the Maine Department of Education’s proposal to improve Child Development Services;
  • advancing a proposal, supported by the Maine Hospital Association, to reform hospital reimbursement rates to improve the health of Maine people.

Read a more detailed overview of these previously announced supplemental budget initiatives (PDF).

Other initiatives in the Governor’s supplemental budget proposal include $6 million to repair storm damage to Maine State Parks, Historic sites, and public lands; $3 million one-time payment to Maine milk producers in recognition of increased production costs; $15 million to fund final payments to municipalities under the Property Tax Stabilization Program for Seniors; authorization for the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services to transition unused money to expand the network of public defenders in Maine; creation of an Office of Community Affairs; $4 million to upgrade the Judiciary’s computer systems, a proposal to amend the expansion of the Medicare Savings Program, and, among other initiatives, a proposal to streamline, simplify, and modernize certain provisions of the sales tax to better align it with the practice of other states across the country.

The supplemental budget comes after Maine’s nonpartisan Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC) last year projected an additional $265 million, through Fiscal Year 2024-2025, which ends June 30, 2025. The supplemental proposal represents $71 million in appropriations and would result in a $10.41 billion budget. The current budget is $10.34 billion, including more than $285 million in tax relief (PDF) per year.

Under Governor Mills’ leadership, Maine’s Budget Stabilization, or “Rainy Day Fund,” hasreached $968.3 million, a record high and the maximum allowed under State law. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s credit rating agencies have affirmed Maine’s Aa2 bond rating and in May of 2023, Moody’s increased Maine’s outlook from stable to positive, citing Maine’s continued GDP growth at or above the national rate, and Maine’s growing population and employment rates.

A broader outline of the supplemental budget – including previously announced and new initiatives – can be found here (PDF). The budget document, as well as the Highway Fund supplemental, can be found on the Bureau of the Budget website.