June 10, 2011

Committee backs plan to cut MPBN's funding by just $200,000

From staff reports

AUGUSTA - The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, which faced a $4 million cut over two years in the state budget proposed by Gov. Paul LePage, would lose only $200,000 in state funding under a plan endorsed by the Legislature's Appropriations Committee late Thursday night.

Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said there were concerns about cutting all state funding for the statewide radio and television network because of the emergency broadcast services it provides.

He said the language approved by the committee calls for a report to lawmakers in January to determine whether there is federal money available to pay for those services.

Until then, the network would get $2 million from the state in the year that starts July 1, and $1.8 million in the next year.

The network had said that the $4 million cut over two years represented nearly 20 percent of its operating budget.

The committee's House Chairman Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop, said the MPBN vote got the committee "through a bit of an impasse" as budget negotiations continued into the night.


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