Maine revenues keep falling short of projections

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2009 2:04 PM

Maine revenues continue to fall far short of projections, with the shortfall now estimated at $300 million to $400 million for the state's current two-year budget.

October revenues came in nearly $27 million below projections, said Finance Commissioner Ryan Low. Economic conditions have deteriorated more than expected since the state's revenue forecasting committee made its last prediction in May, he said.

With unemployment high and consumer spending down, the state's two biggest revenue sources _ income and sales taxes _ continue to lag.

"We've had six months of revenues since we redid the revenue forecast," Low said. "All six have been down, and four of the six months were off by more than $20 million."

The projected shortfall represents 5.2 percent to 6.9 percent of the $5.8 billion budget.

With the bleak outlook, Gov. John Baldacci is preparing an executive order to curtail spending.

Spokesman David Farmer said legislators need to be prepared to cut spending when they revise the two-year budget, which runs through June 30, 2011. The governor won't support tax increases to make up for the shortfall, he said.

By the time the budget is revised, it could come in as low as $5.4 billion.

The previous two-year budget, which ended June 30, was $6.3 billion.