Revised Maine budget unveiled, some cuts restored
By GLENN ADAMS
Maine Gov. John Baldacci presented a state budget rewrite Wednesday that reflects a slightly improved economy and restores some services he previously proposed cutting, most notably in social services and schools.
The restorations reflect $51 million in upgraded revenue projections and nearly $28 million in additional Medicaid funding from the federal government. Thanks to those funding boosts, Maine's revenue shortfall was lowered last week from $438 million to $360 million less than halfway through the two-year budget cycle.
Baldacci, who outlined his proposals at a news briefing in his office, did not rule out further changes in the weeks left before lawmakers adjourn, saying the economy -- which drives the state budget -- remains unpredictable.
"Despite today's good news, we know the economy is fragile and our economy is far from certain," the governor said.
The largest piece of the funding restoration -- $37 million -- is targeted for services including support for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, services for the disabled, home-based care and mental health crisis intervention. The restored funding represents more than half of the human services cuts that had been proposed by the governor in December.
For more, see http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9E7C6280.htm.
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