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Governor LePage outlines budget

6:42 PM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The governor's supplemental and biennial budgets were laid out for lawmakers in a late afternoon session in Augusta.

They include no state tax increases, but cuts to programs in the Department of Health and Human Services, 200 state job cuts, and increased reliance on local cities and towns to pick up some costs.

There are two headlines on these budgets. One: the governor has found a way to make tough spending cuts, given that there is less federal funding these days, without raising taxes. The other-- the budget can be seen as a big tax shift to local cities and towns.

There is a lot to this budget -- but two areas that are getting scrutiny tonight: a temporary suspension of revenue sharing to local towns -- about 99 million dollars a year that towns aren't getting in this budget.

The other: a proposal that school districts split the cost of teacher retirement payments with the state. These, along with cuts to programs within the department of health and human services cause democratic senate president Justin Alfond to question a tax shift.

"The tremendous cost shift that we are pouring on to our local communities in this budget. And I think as we're just absorbing it's a shift of 400 million dollars to our local communities."

Sawin Millett the governor's finance commissioner said "so we're talking 400 million dollars and we're passing on to our local communities which is obviously hopefully a concern to all of us around the table."

This all goes to the appropriations committee now. Leaders in both parties say they are confident they'll get to a bipartisan agreement. Democratic leaders, though, don't seem to think many of the governor's proposals are going to fly.

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