Maine budget writers take break

Posted April 04, 2009, at 7:41 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislative budget writers at the Maine State House scrapped plans for a weekend session, raising more doubt about their ability to wrap up deliberations by mid-month.

Some majority Democrats argue that it would be prudent to lay out a basic spending blueprint as soon as possible and then adjust as needed. But some Republicans question the wisdom of acting before a fully developed revenue picture emerges.

In January, Gov. John Baldacci proposed a General Fund spending package of $6.1 billion for the two-year cycle beginning July 1. Now, a new analysis by a state panel has found the Maine economy to be deteriorating fast.

Budget writers foresee a new revenue gap but won’t know how big until May when the state is expected to lower revenue estimates.