AUGUSTA — Lawmakers from both parties touted a new level of civility in Maine government as they voted to approve a 2-year state spending plan that falls just short of $8 billion. While Republicans still voiced reservations about the budget, they put up the votes needed to get the bill passed with two-thirds support. But they warned that the state might not have enough in reserves to weather a potential economic downturn. Related Headlines Mills tells lawmakers her $8 billion state budget is ‘sustainable’ Highlights of 2-year state budget deal Lawmakers worked Friday to finalize the two-year budget that begins July 1. Here are a few highlights of the bipartisan deal: $7.98 billion total budget. $111 million more K-12 education. Raises state’s share of K-12 funding to 50.8 percent (still shy of mandated 55 percent). Creates three-year “ramp up” to $40,000 minimum teacher salary statewide. $17 million increase for public colleges and … [Read more...] about Maine Legislature approves new state budget of nearly $8 billion
Municipal budget preparation process
By Amanda Cuda Published 12:39 pm EDT, Monday, April 29, 2019 MONROE — In roughly a week, Monroe residents will get chance to vote on the town’s proposed 2019-2020 budget, which First Selectman Ken Kellogg hopes does the job of funding town services and improvements, while simultaneously keeping taxes low. “The budget was developed with an overarching goal of controlling taxes, while ensuring that we continue to invest in roads and infrastructure, deliver cost-effective services to our community, provide excellence in education, and maintain the good financial health of the Town,” Kellogg said in a news release issued Friday. On May 7, Monroe residents will head to the polls to vote on whether to approve a $87,852,877 budget, which carries a tax increase of .97 percent from the previous fiscal year. The budget proposal breaks down to $28,940,637 proposed for the municipal budget, $57,246,740 for the board of education budget and $1,665,500 for … [Read more...] about Monroe budget headed for referendum
AUBURN — Mayor Jason Levesque told city and school officials Monday he would like to see the school and city budgets require no increase in local property taxes for next year. The workshop discussion came after the School Committee last week informally supported a lower school budget for 2019-20 that represents a 0% hike in taxes.However, as the City Council begins a month of budget workshops, officials also have lofty goals of finding between $600,000 and $900,000 in cuts to the proposed municipal budget to bring it down to a 0% increase. The budget as proposed is $45.6 million, about $1.2 million more than this year. The focus on conservative spending for next year is based on the $125.8 million high school project facing voters June 11. The proposed school budget of $45.3 million is about $1.6 million more than this year, but is offset by a $1.5 million increase in state subsidies. During the workshop Monday, Levesque said he would like to see the School Department increase be … [Read more...] about Auburn officials looks to cut more from budget
opinion Jeanne LoCicero and Amol Sinha Special to North Jersey Record Published 5:26 AM EDT Oct 5, 2018 Just two weeks ago, when now-former Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino’s racist and homophobic comments came to light, one thing became clear: Bergen County residents could no longer place confidence in him to serve the public. What’s also apparent is that the process to elect a successor does not instill confidence, either. The state law requiring the candidates for sheriff to appear on the ballot this Election Day, Nov. 6, created a needlessly cramped time frame that threatens to undermine the democratic process. We have 33 days to try to fix that and to learn essential facts about the newly named candidates for one of the most powerful positions in the county. No matter who wins the election, the next sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county bears the heavy responsibility of strengthening racial justice and standing up for the rights of all … [Read more...] about Opinion: In Bergen sheriff vote, stakes too high to get process wrong
COMMENTARY | Ordinary people have real power over real money to make decisions that affect their lives What is participatory budgeting? Participatory budgeting, or PB, is a deliberative democratic process wherein ordinary people decide how to allocate a portion of a municipal or public budget. PB started in Brazil in the 1980s and has spread rapidly to well over 3,000 municipalities on all continents around the globe. Since PB launched in Chicago’s 49th Ward in 2009, dozens of U.S. cities, both small and large, have begun allocating small but growing portions of their municipal budgets using PB. PB varies from place to place but it usually consists of five basic steps. Essential elements are a dedicated source of funding, community-driven project development, and a binding communitywide vote or decision process in which the selected projects are implemented with available funds. PB has been used to allocate funds for parks, housing and transportation improvements, … [Read more...] about Is the Portland area ready for participatory budgeting?