AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The focus is shifting toward settlement of Maine's two-year state budget as the June 19 deadline to adjourn draws closer.
Majority Democrats and Republicans went public Wednesday with some of their ideas toward reaching resolution of a $6.3 billion spending plan, but they remain far apart in key areas, especially taxes.
A plan to raise the state's 5-cent sales tax by a penny is being suggested, and Democrats are advancing changes to combat fraud and streamline municipal service delivery of general assistance to save money.
Republicans say this is no time to raise taxes, but some of them are pushing higher levies on nonprofits.
Democratic Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland says one thing is clear - that the budget as proposed by Gov. Paul LePage "is not an option."
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