AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday announced a deposit of $ 224 million into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, nearly doubling the fund’s balance following an unprecedented influx of federal funds.
The news of the filing comes just a year after Maine faced the prospect of a large budget deficit as the pandemic hammered state revenues, especially taxes on meals and accommodation generated by establishments particularly affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
But federal aid programs helped erase those grim estimates, putting the state in a position to increase funding for schools and municipal revenue sharing, as well as inject $ 40 million into the days of the fund. rain.
The fund now stands at $ 492 million, an all-time high, according to the governor’s office. Announcing the filing on Tuesday, Mills presented the fund as a prime example of his success in dealing with the pandemic, which could be the cornerstone of his re-election campaign against his predecessor, Paul LePage, who has touted the growth of the the state’s rainy day fund during his eight-year tenure.
âThis sound fiscal management has positioned us well to continue our economic recovery and send a strong message to bond rating agencies about our financial stability,â Mills said in a statement.
Maine has weathered the pandemic better than most other states, as it has seen some of the lowest coronavirus case rates in the country. This extended to the state’s fiscal situation. Despite a budget cuts plan, spending cuts and the use of money generated by outperforming state liquor contracts, Mills never dipped into the Rainy Days Fund itself, a reserve of money specifically reserved for major emergencies and the inability of the state to pay its bills.