The Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee is predicting that Maine will collect $113 million more in revenue through mid-2017 than expected as the state’s economy continues to slowly but steadily improve.

The committee, which presented its report to Gov. Paul LePage this week, predicts that Maine will bring in $45.5 million more than anticipated in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The committee is projecting an increase in revenues of $67.5 million over the following two-year budget cycle, ending June 30, 2017.

Members say the forecast is being driven in part by higher than expected individual and corporate income tax collections – a sign that individuals are earning more money and businesses are becoming more profitable, according to the committee’s chairman.

“Nationally and here in Maine the recovery from the recession has been weak but it looks like over the last year or so maybe we’ve turned the corner a bit. But, it is still a moderate turn at best,” said Michael Allen, Maine’s associate commissioner of tax policy. Allen is also chairman of the Revenue Forecasting Committee, which includes State Economist Amanda Rector and several other state financial officers.

By law, the committee must present its revenue forecast by Dec. 1 to the governor, who will use the projections to develop future state budgets.

“Reducing the tax burden on Mainers was a good, meaningful policy decision in 2011, and the state is seeing an uptick in income tax revenue as a result. Policies that reduce state spending, remove red tape and allow businesses to invest and create jobs are what we need to move Maine’s economy forward,” LePage said in a news release.


The Associated Press quoted Richard Rosen, the acting commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, as saying the increase in revenues will help close what was originally estimated to be a $461 million structural gap in the upcoming budget cycle. The structural gap is the difference between what Maine is required to fund and how much revenue it expects to collect.

“It’s good news,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, a Democrat from Lewiston who has served for 13 years on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “But I also have a feeling that the needs will be significant.”

Rotundo said the needs may be greatest in the areas of health and human services, but she said, “we haven’t seen the governor’s budget yet.”

“It will take months to figure out what the greatest priorities are for the people of Maine,” she added.

Committee members in their report said the state’s economy should grow at a slightly more robust pace over the next five years, but they also expressed concerns about the state’s aging population.

“While the short term outlook is generally positive,” the committee said in its report, “We remain concerned about Maine’s demographic situation. With an aging population and little to no population growth, employment and income growth will be restrained going forward.”

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