Maine state government has, in some ways, not expanded as much as many people think. From 2007 through 2011 the average increase in expenditures from state funds was 1.3% per year. Including federal funds, the increase was 2.7% per year, driven by the red “hump” in the chart above.
Over the past three decades, the number of State employees has actually declined. While revenues collected by the State have increased, since 1998 over one hundred million of those dollars have been returned each year directly to municipalities for local priorities.
During the 28 year period 1982-2010, expenditures for federally funded programs has increased its share of state budgets, keeping state income and sales taxes in check. However, Special Reveue funds (part of “Other State Funds) have increased fees for permits, licenses and other government benefits.
From 1982 to 2010, expenditures from the General Fund and Highway Fund declined from a combined 50.6% of all State spending to 40.9%. As the same time, expenditures from Federal Funds grew from 26.9% to 40.9%, while those from Special Revenue funds remained about the same.