2010 April 6: ME Augusta & Portland: Wood stove replacement fund awaiting final action It’s ‘the table’ for bills that lack funding
By Susan M. Cover
AUGUSTA — There’s a place where bills go to die.
It’s called the Special Appropriations Table.
"The table" as it’s commonly called, is often the kiss of death – and legislators go to great lengths to avoid having their bills end up there.
Bills that go to the table have been approved in the House and Senate, but they cost money. So, before the final Senate vote, they get sent to the table.
They sit there – nearly 30 awaited action last week – until the Appropriations Committee has a chance to review them and decide if there’s any money to pay for them.
The committee took action on about a third of them Friday, with other bills in the hopper expected to be sent to the table.
Bills awaiting final action:
• Establishment of the Residential Wood Stove Replacement Fund, which would cost $2.5 million a year. The money would be used to provide incentives to people to replace old wood stoves with models that don’t emit as much pollution.
Appropriations Committee House Chairwoman Emily Cain, D-Orono, said it’s often difficult to decide what gets funded and what doesn’t, especially because the measures usually come with strong support.
This year, in particular, the committee is directing an eye toward the future because of an anticipated large funding gap for the next two year budget cycle.
"It’s not always just about does it feel good or not," she said.
Lawmakers plan to take final votes on everything over the next couple of days with leaders expected to adjourn by midweek.
MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan M. Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: