Maine legislators reject proposal to zero out pubcasting aid

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A committee of Maine’s legislature unanimously voted April 5 to reject Gov.  Paul LePage’s bid to eliminate funding for the state’s public broadcasting network.

The bipartisan 13-member Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs agreed to keep the Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s $1.7 million appropriation in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Unless the governor vetoes the budget before April 26, the spending plan will take effect with MPBN’s funding intact.

The appropriation is 13 percent less than last year’s state subsidy for MBPN, but President Mark Vogelzang told an MPBN reporter that he was happy with the restoration of funds.

The legislative committee also directed Maine’s government to determine how much MPBN spends on emergency broadcasting services and to survey other ways in which the network might be able to provide services to the state. Lawmakers suggested that, within five years, funding for MPBN should move to a fee-for-service model agreed to by the state and the network.

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