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How Will an $85 Million Hole in the 2011 State Budget Affect Your Organization?

by Brenda Peluso

Does your organization receive state funding either through grants, contracts or MaineCare reimbursement?  What would another curtailment order from the Governor, along with further cuts to health and human services, mean to your organization? Why could the failure of pending federal legislation have immediate consequences for my organization?

Congress failed again last week to pass HR 4213, also known as the tax extenders bill, which includes a 6 month extension of enhanced federal funds through the Medicaid program to provide fiscal relief to cash-strapped states, like Maine.  The legislature and the Governor expected this bill to pass and accounted for it in the SFY 2011 budget passed earlier in the year. 

Even though Maine’s Senators voted in support of this extension in previous legislation, they have voted against moving HR 4213 to the Senate floor for a vote three times over the last couple of weeks.  Our Senators have expressed a willingness to support the extension of the enhanced Medicaid funds and have the power to make this happen this week.   They also have a history of reaching across the aisle to help Maine.  Their leadership is needed to ensure that Maine does not lose this fiscal relief and that we do not see further cuts to vital health and human services and more loss of jobs in this state.  If Maine does not receive this funding, there will be an $85 million hole in the budget for SFY 2011. 

Maine Can Do Better will be holding a rally to urge the Senators to work to pass HR 4213 before heading home for the 4th of July recess.  The rally will be on Wednesday, June 30th in Lobsterman’s Park (right in front of the Nickelodeon Theatre on the corner of Middle and Temple) in Portland.  The coalition hopes to draw a large crowd to illustrate the need for this funding in Maine. 

Maine Can Do Better also urges folks to call the Senators office today to urge them to advocate for the passage of HR 4213 and the extension of Medicaid funds to ensure that vital health care services and jobs are protected.   

U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe

(202) 224-5344

U.S. Senator Susan Collins

(202) 224-2523

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