Maine Appropriations Committee rejects elimination of pubcasting funding

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Members of the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations Committee late last night (April 5) unanimously rejected a proposal from Gov. Paul LePage to eliminate all $1.7 million in fiscal 2013 state funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network by July 1, the network reports.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta proposed an amendment, unanimously adopted, that directs the state to work with MPBN to determine costs for its emergency alert system, and requests reports from MPBN on its future plans and on how MPBN may use its bandwidth to provide other fee-based services to the state. “A plan whereby over the next five years,” Katz said, “the appropriation which is provided by the state to MPBN would gradually be reduced and replaced by fee-for-service contracts to be agreed to by the parties for the kinds of services I was just talking about.”

MPBN President Mark Vogelzang said the network will look at new ways to work with the state, and he is “especially pleased” that the $1.7 million is safe. “It’s not all of the money we had asked for,” he said, “and it’s still going to be a 13 percent decline over this year into next year. So it will be a tough one, but I think we’re happy.”

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