Maine managed to close a $190 million budget gap and finish its fiscal year with a small surplus, but a potentially larger shortfall is looming for the two-year budget period that begins next July 1.
State Budget Officer Ellen Schneiter projects a $400 million gap between revenues and costs. She says the easiest savings have already been made and it will be tougher to get the budget in balance the next time around.
The $56 million general fund surplus for fiscal 2008 has been linked to higher-than-expected individual income tax payments that reflect capital gains on investments.
Officials fear that a struggling economy and high energy costs will bring more budget woes in the next biennium.