AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci says this is not the time to raise broad-based taxes in Maine, even though the gap between revenues and spending in the next two-year budget was about $838 million.
In his weekly radio address Saturday, the Democratic governor reiterates his opposition to increasing sales or income taxes to balance the budget. Baldacci says his approach is to cut unnecessary spending. He wants to spend about $200 million less than the previous budget.
Baldacci’s $6.1 billion budget does include a number of fee increases. Hunters, recreational and commercial fishermen and campers are among those who would be affected.
In their response, Republicans also hit on a familiar theme: The budget’s impact on hospitals.
House Minority Leader John Tardy of Newport says Maine hospitals are owed $423 million for Medicaid services provided as far back as 2005. For Maine’s 15 critical access hospitals, the state is behind on Medicaid payments by $42 million, which Tardy calls big money for rural hospitals.