State budget talks heat up

Posted April 26, 2009, at 1:11 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A panel of Maine lawmakers has resumed budget deliberations.

Sunday’s session for the Appropriations Committee signals a quickening of the pace of negotiations.

Committee members gathered at noon and immediately broke off into partisan caucuses.

Gov. John Baldacci’s top budget aide said Friday that lawmakers who have been working to bridge a two-year budget gap once estimated at $340 million will probably soon face a new shortfall of close to $600 million more.

The state Revenue Forecasting Committee is expected to lower its projections substantially this week.