April 2, 2023

Maine’s revenue exceeds pre-pandemic forecasts

Buttressed by a massive influx of federal relief funds, Maine’s general fund revenues are exceeding pre-pandemic forecasts, according to a panel that helps craft the biennial state budget.

The nonpartisan Revenue Forecast Committee, which met virtually on Wednesday, has upgraded the general fund revenue forecast by more than $461.9 million for the current fiscal year ending June 30, and by about $460.5 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Gov. Janet Mills attributed the better than expected forecast to “sound fiscal management and curtailment measures” as well as $8.3 billion in federal relief money that has flowed into Maine since the pandemic began.

“That state revenues have not only returned to pre-pandemic levels but have surpassed those estimates is a testament to the power of the federal stimulus, our prudent fiscal management of the state budget, the resiliency of Maine businesses and workers and our focus on keeping Maine people and our economy healthy,” Mills said in a statement.

The commission, which is responsible for projecting revenues for the state budget, also upgraded revenue estimates through fiscal year 2025 by more than $1.35 billion.

Kirsten Figueroa, commissioner for the Maine Department of Administrative & Financial Services, said the state has tightened its fiscal belt throughout the pandemic.

“Throughout this public health emergency, this administration has protected Maine’s safety net infrastructure, preserved critical programs and avoided layoffs of state personnel,” Figueroa said.

During the pandemic, Mills worked with the Legislature to set aside more than $100 million in the state’s general fund as well as cost containment measures in anticipation of federal relief, administration officials pointed out in a news release.

The revenue projections follow Mills approval last month of a $8.3 billion budget for the 2022-23 fiscal years.

Mills said she will use the better-than-expected revenue forecasts to craft a supplemental budget to help fund pandemic recovery, but she expects to release in coming weeks.

“We will continue to invest in the health and wellbeing of Maine people, in our kids and our public education system, and in our economic recovery – all of which will help us turn the corner on this pandemic and build a stronger state for future generations,” she said.

This article was originally posted on Maine’s revenue exceeds pre-pandemic forecasts

Sydney Boles