AUGUSTA – As a bipartisan task force that’s under legislative orders to find $25 million in state budget savings kicked off its work on Thursday, its chairman made one thing clear about its monthslong mission: It won’t be looking at tax or fee increases to balance the budget.

“We’re not looking to engage in fee or revenue enhancers or fund shifts . . . or gimmicks,” Chairman Sawin Millett, the LePage administration’s finance commissioner, told the panel.

The 12-member group’s mission is summarized in its official title: Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services Task Force.

The Legislature ordered the group to recommend ways to achieve ongoing General Fund savings of at least $25 million to balance the state budget, although the members expressed willingness — and Gov. Paul LePage expressed hope — to take it well beyond that figure. A report is due Dec. 15.

“It’s not going to be easy, it’s not an easy task,” said state Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, one of the four legislative members. “We made a lot of cuts in the last budget and finding an additional $25 million will be a task we will have to face.”

The panel, which will look for inefficiencies and duplication in services, also includes business, nonprofit and health care representatives.

While the task force’s work is just beginning, some clear themes and priorities besides not entertaining tax or fee hikes emerged during its inaugural meeting. Panelists appeared to agree they should look at other states’ comparative costs in gauging how much Maine should be paying to provide state services.