Governor, GOP agree: No tax hike to fix budget

Posted Dec. 06, 2009, at 10:43 a.m.
Maine Gov. John Baldacci speaks at a news conference to announce his decision to curtail spending by $63 million because of a nearly $400 million revenue shortfall, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. Brenda Harvey, commissioner of Health and Human Services, left, and Finance Commissioner Ryan Lowe accompany the governor. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Maine Gov. John Baldacci speaks at a news conference to announce his decision to curtail spending by $63 million because of a nearly $400 million revenue shortfall, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. Brenda Harvey, commissioner of Health and Human Services, left, and Finance Commissioner Ryan Lowe accompany the governor. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci says more state budget cuts are coming in the months ahead, but he’ll try minimize the impact on education, health care, public safety and job creation.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Baldacci said that on Dec. 18 he will give details of his plan to close a $383 million budget gap. But Baldacci offers this preview: He will not seek to raise taxes.

Baldacci said the recession is placing increased demands upon government to take care of people in need. For example, the state’s Medicaid program, MaineCare, is serving an additional 20,000 people.

He also said state government has 1,000 fewer employees than when he took office in 2003.

GOP quick to second no-tax pledge

Maine Republicans were quick to second Gov. John Baldacci’s weekend pledge to not seek a tax increase to close the budget gap.

In the Republican response to Baldacci’s radio address, House Minority Leader Josh Tardy of Newport says his party agrees. Tardy says raising taxes in a recession is counterproductive and unfair to Mainers who are trying to make ends meet.

Tardy says the problem of falling revenues is exacerbated by recession-related investment losses, which will affect the state retirement system.

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