The state's budget bureau has projected a $756-million shortfall in the next two-year budget, but that figure assumes the state will make good on commitments like funding 55% of public education that it has historically avoided.
The number could be closer to $246.3 million, according to Maine Today Media, if the state fails to meets its 55% obligation and makes other budget adjustments. The state budget bureau's projection has the state boosting its current public education funding from 45% to 55% — a commitment the Legislature set out in 2004 but has not fulfilled.
The projection also has the state restoring municipal revenue sharing to 5.1% of all sales tax and income tax revenue, up from a reduction made in 2011 to 3.1%.
MaineCare cuts totaling $160.9 million would also chip away at the projected $756-million shortfall, the paper reported, and planned cuts to the state's Medicaid program could mean another $63.8 million in cuts, reducing a deficit to $182.5 million.
That deficit is lower than the $1.17-billion shortfall projected before the Legislature's last two-year budget in 2010, but will likely spark similar debates over tax cuts that lowered the state's top income tax rate from 8.5% to 7.95%.