Maine legislature restores public broadcasting funding
Efforts by Republican Governor Paul LePage to zero-out funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN) ran into bi-partisan opposition in the state legislature. The Joint Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted unanimously to appropriate $1.7 million for the public radio and TV operation for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.
That figure is still down from the funding of $1,954,235 in the current year, but MPBN notes that most of the 13.5% reduction ($263,603) is due to a lack of $200,000 in federal funds from the Maine Emergency Management Agency seen in the current year. The proposed funding for the next fiscal year now on its way to the Maine House and Senate for approval is $1,690,632.
“MPBN is appreciative of the hard work by the entire Committee in supporting the state-wide public broadcasting organization,” said the pubcaster on its website.
“We had strong bi-partisan agreement that our services were important to the citizens of Maine, and we know that this was a challenging year financially. I appreciate the ways in which individual legislators worked with MPBN to come to an agreement on this vote,” said MPBN President and CEO Mark Vogelzang.
MPBN said the appropriation of taxpayer funds, since 1992, has been intended to cover the cost of statewide transmission of broadcast signals. The actual cost of transmission, out of a total MPBN annual budget of $11.2 million, is put at $2.5 million.