Maine budget plan draws mild critics

Posted May 04, 2009, at 1:57 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Critics are taking aim at Maine Gov. John Baldacci’s plan to cover a new $570 million budget gap.

But a comment session before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee Monday was low-key.

On human services, taxation and state employee compensation, the targets of proposed cuts frequently offered to come up with alternatives. Baldacci’s plan is designed to reduce general fund spending for two years from the $6.1 billion he originally proposed to $5.8 billion.

New initiatives would include $70 million less in local school aid, $60 million less in potential tax breaks and two dozen government shutdown days.

Baldacci would use $75.5 million from the state rainy day fund and nearly $41 million in other reserves to offset shortfalls through June 2011.

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