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State spending under scrutiny by Budget Task Force

In an effort to significantly reduce state spending, Governor Paul LePage has announced the formation of the “Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services Task Force.” Sue Charron, director of Social Services for the City of Lewiston, has been appointed to the task force.

Governor Paul LePage appointed a bipartisan team of seven to the task force. In addition to Charron, these 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; 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.

The Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services 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.

Sawin Millett, commissioner of the Dept. of Administrative and Financial Service, 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.

 

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