Maine’s General Fund revenue forecast will increase by approximately $411.6 million following a March 1 meeting of the Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC). Following the updated forecast, Gov. Janet Mills announced she will propose returning at least half of the additional surplus to Maine taxpayers in the form of direct checks.
Mills’ original supplemental budget proposal called for giving half the projected budget surplus, then estimated at $822 million, to Maine taxpayers in the form of direct checks. During her State of the State address, Mills said this would amount to around $500 to roughly 800,000 eligible Mainers.
According to Mills’ press office, the governor will now offer a change package that will call for returning an additional $205.8 million of the additional surplus to taxpayers.
“This will bring the Governor’s proposed giveback to at least $616.8 million, which would result in about $750 in relief to an estimated 800,000 eligible Maine taxpayers, beginning as soon as July, if approved by the Legislature,” wrote the Mills administration in a Tuesday press release.
Mills said the additional projected surplus is the result of “strong Federal support and the good fiscal management of my Administration and the Legislature.”
The RFC’s latest forecast is based on the Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission’s February 1 economic forecast. In its March 1 meeting, the RFC warned of long-term volatility and called the fiscal environment “uncertain” and “variable.”
The RFC also revised downward its projections for future years, and warned current economic uncertainty makes those projections less reliable. Though the RFC increased its projection for fiscal year 2024-2025 by $360.8 million, there is a $50 million drop between the current budget cycle, which ends in June 2023, and the next.
As a result, the RFC urged caution in the state’s use of projected revenues.