Commission may run out of money for court-appointed lawyers before end of fiscal year

Posted March 20, 2012, at 6:10 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The state commission that provides legal services to the poor may run out of money for court-appointed lawyers six weeks before the fiscal year closes at the end of June.

The latest projected budget shortfall for the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services may delay payments to the lawyers who represent low-income clients.

The commission requested $1 million in the state’s supplemental budget, an amount that was reduced to $400,000 in the budget proposed by Gov. Paul LePage.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee is reviewing the proposed supplemental budget this week.

Ron Schneider, the panel’s chairman, tells The Portland Press Herald accumulating shortfalls, along with a cut from a government streamlining bill, means the commission may have $1.7 million less than it needs for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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