AUGUSTA — The House and Senate on Tuesday approved a state budget for the next five months that dedicates nearly $70 million to hospitals and $77 million to Maine’s Medicaid program.

The lopsided votes cleared the decks for a speech Thursday in which Gov. Paul LePage will propose a budget for the two years starting July 1.

Tuesday’s House vote on the supplemental budget was 142-3. The Senate voted 34-0 to pass the plan for the period ending June 30.

After weeks of deliberations, the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee decided late Friday night to endorse a supplemental budget consistent with what LePage proposed last month, with some changes.

The committee’s House chairman, Rep. Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop, said Tuesday on the floor of the House that Republicans and Democrats on the committee worked hard to preserve the money in the budget to pay the state’s debts to hospitals.

Nearly $70 million in state money will draw enough federal funds for a total payout of $248 million to hospitals, for bills that date back to 2006. That will leave about $150 million to be repaid, which may be in the two-year budget that LePage will propose this week.

The $77 million for Medicaid will help the state handle an increase in enrollment and compensate for the end of federal stimulus funding.

The budget allocates $4.5 million in state funds to cover a loss in revenue because the state is conforming to some federal tax changes. The administration estimates 100,000 Mainers will benefit from the tax changes starting this year.

Flood said the committee deviated from LePage’s proposal after legislators spoke of the need to get more state money to cities and towns. The version passed by lawmakers allocated an additional $1 million to cities and towns.

Two Democratic lawmakers from South Portland – Rep. Jane Eberle and Sen. Larry Bliss — tried to amend the budget by taking $2 million from the hospital payments and sending it to municipalities. Both attempts failed.

Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, offered an amendment to restore funding for a transportation program in his area. That amendment failed.

The budget passed by the Legislature on Tuesday also:

• Put $600,000 in the state’s dairy fund to help small dairy farmers.

• Restored $300,000 in funding for legal services for indigent Mainers.

• Allocated $50,000 to support the school breakfast program.

LePage was expected to sign the budget Tuesday night, according to his communications staff.

Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, a member of the Appropriations Committee, compared the supplemental budget process to baseball’s spring training. He said it was a good warmup for the major budget-writing process that will begin Thursday.

“Opening day will be Thursday, when Gov. LePage throws out the first pitch,” he said.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]