State Spending under Scrutiny by Budget Task Force
August 1, 2011
Committee charged with locating $25 million in savings
For Immediate Release: Monday, August 01, 2011
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531
Augusta, Maine – In an effort to significantly reduce state spending, the Governor today announced the formation of the “Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services Task Force.”
Governor Paul LePage appointed a bipartisan team of seven of the twelve-member task force. Members include: George Kerr, a former Democratic lawmaker and Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee chair; Joe Bruno, former House Republican Leader and President of Community Pharmacies; Sue Charron, Director of Social Services for the City of Lewiston; Phil Harriman, a former legislator and business consultant; former Central Maine Power Co. CEO David Flanagan, David Winslow of the Maine Hospital Association, and former finance commissioner under Gov. John Baldacci Ryan Low.
Four legislators join the team as well: Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport; Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York; Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake; and Rep. Dennis Keschl, R-Belgrade. All are members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.
PL 2011, chapter 380, Part KKK established the Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services Task Force. The task force is charged with undertaking a comprehensive analysis of departments and agencies with the goals of prioritizing services, consolidating functions and eliminating duplication and inefficiencies in order to achieve on-going General Fund savings of at least $25 million in fiscal year 2012-13. To achieve this goal the task force will need input from all departments and agencies as well as the public. Additionally, the task force will likely establish subcommittees and draw on experts inside and outside of State Government. Proposals must result in on-going reductions in spending and not include fee or other increases in revenues or the shifting of costs to other sources of funding.
Commissioner Millett, who chairs the task force, is confident they will be able to reach its goal. “I am truly impressed with the scope and richness of the qualifications and experiential backgrounds of each of the members of this important task force and I look forward to working with them as we undertake this daunting assignment.”
“The bottom line is that we need to curb state spending,” said Governor Paul LePage. “In order to achieve savings we must take a hard look at every aspect of government and make tough decisions. We must also examine what is working and find ways to continue those efficiencies.”
Work sessions will be scheduled for the task force throughout the summer and fall. The task force is required to report its recommendations to the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs by December 15, 2011.