An abbreviated edition of the Briefing today. The Legislature is in recess until next Tuesday and most lawmakers blew out of here on Wednesday because of a retreat and the long weekend. Also, I’m getting the sense that we’ve exhausted some of the interest in the governor’s two-year budget. – S.M.

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I just wrote that people might be getting tired of the budget. Well, some of us still have questions. Unfortunately some of the answers are not forthcoming despite several inquiries.

For starters, the LePage administration has repeatedly proclaimed that the proposed tax overhaul will result in $300 million in tax relief beginning in fiscal year 2019. It’s not entirely clear how the administration arrived at that number. The analysis produced by the Tax Foundation has said that the tax relief beginning in fiscal year will be $267 million, so perhaps the administration is rounding up. The fiscal note provided to the Legislature’s budget writing committee shows a similar figure, $266.6 million. It’s worth noting that the numbers are based upon projected revenues four years from July 1. Projections can change, so the tax benefit could end up higher or lower depending on the economy and beefed up sales tax collections if the governor’s budget is enacted. 

A request for clarification to the communications people in the budget office drew no response Thursday.

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There’s been some speculation about how the budget cuts state government. Richard Rosen, the governor’s budget chief, said Wednesday that approximately 200 positions are eliminated in the budget. That apparently includes 40 positions at the Maine Centers for Disease Control, which is losing $10 million in the proposal.

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Republicans are getting antsy for a special election in House District 93. Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson, D-Rockland, announced on her Facebook page last weekend that she’d moved to Colorado. Her announcement was accompanied by a long explanation on her website, and later, an official statement from the House Majority Office.

On Thursday, Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, issued a statement urging Dickerson to make her resignation official.

“The people of Rockland and Owls Head deserve proper representation in the Maine House,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette. “We want to know why, if Rep. Dickerson truly wants to give up her seat, she has yet to formally resign? There are people ready and willing to step in and do the job. What’s the delay?”

Later Thursday evening, Dickerson apparently sent the resignation letter:

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Ok, one last budget related item. Promise. The Pew Charitable Trusts has posted an interesting 50-state data visualization of how many days each state can maintain operations based on reserve funds.

Guess how many days Maine can operate on its $81 million in reserve funds? You got it: 9.2 days.

That’s not very good, according to Pew’s state by state rankings. Only six states have fewer days in reserve funds.

The analysis was conducted by the National Association of State Budget Officers. Pew just made it pretty.