State update finds Maine school units overspending

Posted Feb. 10, 2009, at 1:16 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine State Planning Office says four years after tax and spending caps took effect, state government, as well as most counties and municipalities, have stayed within set limits.

But the new planning office analysis says the trend of school units exceeding their spending caps continues.

According to the report released Tuesday, state appropriations declined for fiscal year 2008-09 by 2.2 percent, $221 million below the established limit.

Fifty-six percent of municipalities reporting were under 2008 property-tax caps, according to the report, while 13 of Maine’s 16 counties stayed within limits.

But the report says 88 percent of school administrative units exceeded spending benchmarks — collectively, $220 million above target.

The LD 1 law stems from a 2004 referendum to increase state education aid as a way to ease taxes.

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