AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee rejected a proposal from Gov. Paul LePage to eliminate all state funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

During late negotiations Thursday, the committee voted to restore all $1.7 million to the network. It also opted not to cut $2.4 million from higher education.

Lawmakers are chipping away at a $38 million supplemental budget proposed by LePage to fill a budget holes in the $6 billion two-year budget. Much of the major work will be put off until May, when lawmakers have a better set of revenue estimates and more complete budget numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Earlier this week, Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Sawin Millett told lawmakers that revenue estimates were off by more than $14 million because of an accounting error at Maine Revenue Services. January receipts were actually $14 million higher than originally reported.

As a result, revenue forecasters will come back in the coming weeks to re-project state revenues for 2013 and the following two-year period.

Today, the Appropriations Committee worked to hammer out details of cuts to General Assistance. LePage originally proposed limiting housing assistance to a maximum of 90 days per calendar year to save $3.3 million. That change would most dramatically affect Portland, South Portland, Bangor, Lewiston and Waterville, according to DHHS.

Also, he proposed to put all cities and towns at a 50 percent reimbursement rate. As it is now, bigger towns can qualify for a 90 percent match after they spend a set amount of money. The change would have affected Portland, Bangor, Lewiston and Caribou, and would have saved $1.4 million.

And, LePage proposed to eliminate General Assistance for anyone who already receives federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funds, for a savings of $978,666.

Big city mayors formed a coalition to oppose the cuts to General Assistance and dozens testified before the committee about the harmful effects of the cuts.

Also, lawmakers have yet to agree on a proposal to dismantle the State Planning Office and concerns about Medicaid money used for mentally ill criminals at Riverview Psychiatric Center.

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