Comments for: DHHS budget: Nearly there

Posted May 13, 2012, at 5:10 p.m.
Last modified May 14, 2012, at 9:05 a.m.

Would you choose to reduce services for children with mental illnesses or cut funding for Head Start, which serves low-income children? Or perhaps you would choose to eliminate Medicaid coverage for people of a certain eligibility status? These are some of the difficult questions facing lawmakers when they reconvene on …

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  • Anonymous

    The word is out the Democrats are out of money and ideas on finding more unless they raise taxes.  This would include rolling back tax cuts–but many of them will not kick in right away, anyway.  I guess running the government on “projected” revenue is like I will be able to retire if I win Megabucks.  Maybe running things on not paying the “bills” again. Still showing that we have run out of money yet again.

  • Anonymous

    nutting owes the taxpayers over 1,000,000.00

    • Anonymous

      Dose or dose the copperation . 

      • Anonymous

        Please learn to spell…

        • Anonymous

          An if i don’t what will you do about ??

    • I’d settle for an accounting of the pharmacy scame he was running by the AG’s office. Oh, that’s right. He’s GOP and so is Schneiderman, who’s running for Oly’s seat in the Senate. Hmmm, connection ?

    • Anonymous

      I would settle for Nutter facing a trial by jury like you or I would have to if we concocted a scheme to defraud taxpayers out of their money. We’d still be in prison today for this scam.

  • Anonymous

    lepage got his daughter off the couch and on tax payers payroll

  • Anonymous

    it’s insane and sick that people are suffering more and more, including children, and the rich get richer and richer.

    That’s how we will be judged.  It doesn’t matter what either side says.  It’s just cruel.

    End of story.

    • Anonymous

      After 40  years of free liberal reign, the Maine taxpayers and the State of ME are both FLAT BROKE!  The well is empty and the pot of gold is GONE!!  How do you propose paying for these cadillac programs?  We have already been taxed, taxed and taxed again and there is never enough money for the liberals in state government. 

      Please, cry me a river.  We are America, not AmeriKa.  I have faith that we Americans will pull through and yes even without Head Start, which didn’t exist a generation ago and we all turned out mighty fine!

      • Anonymous

        Right across the border, in Canada, they don’t let their people suffer without any affordable medical help.  Same with every other democratic country in the world–except us.

        Clinton left office with a balanced budget and no deficit.  He did it by taxing corporations.  Bush came in, cut taxes, started wars, ZOOM went the deficit and the American dream tanked.

        Open your eyes and look how unfair it is in this country.  This is not the greatest country in the world anymore.  Not morally. This country is full of hate and bias.  It is sick from irrational wars.  It is bloated with greed and starving in kindness while the middle class sinks away in an economic depression.

        • Anonymous

          The last I knew, we don’t let people suffer either.  If you remember back in 1986, President Reagan (R) signed EMTALA into law, which made it illegal for hospitals to deny patient care due to being uninsured, or under insured.

          Yes, the same Clinton who signed NAFTA on Dec. 8, 1993, which was the beginning of the giant sucking sound of U. S. manufacturing jobs.  Is this the same Clinton who went to war against the Bosnian people?

          I disagree, we are still the greatest country in the world.  However, if we do not get our wasteful spending under control, it will all come crashing down.  Hate and bias against who, the white male?

          • Guest

            Wasteful spending is your opinion. Try taxing the rich appropriately and stop picking on the poor. The GOP wants everyone to focus on the poor. This country has been run on taxes for years…………..just when the rich get all the breaks…………..the country can’t support itself.

          • Anonymous

             Since when is taxing middle class retirees “Taxing the rich”. That is the only tax on the table per BDN.

          • Anonymous

            Rich have quadrupled their wealth while 45,000 people die a year from lack of health insurance–any objective observer will see a country infected with greed, greed that dominates the top and makes the rest suffer.

            End of story.

          • Anonymous

            What about all the waste in the federal government  ?

          •  Yea, I wouldn’t hold Reagan up as the poster boy for the hero of the poor, sick, or  mentally ill. He destroyed all the work Johnson did. His trickle down economics made the rich, more rich, and the poor, more poor. Not to mention he is credited for the largest expansion between the 99% and 1% in U.S. history.

            Clinton on the other hand, signed welfare reform, but at the same time gave us the Earned Income Credit so working poor could keep more of the money they earned.  The division between Dem and Rep is getting worse, and it is only hurting the American people.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly what was the US casualty count in Bosnia, and how long did it our involvement last?

          • Anonymous

            I will admit that the Clinton War against the Bosnian people did not last nearly as long as John Kennedy’s Vietnam War.  You got me on that one, I guess.

        • Guest

          Well said.

        • Guest

          The Bush tax cuts tripled the amount of money that the government recieved from corporations in taxes. They led to record tax revenues for the government overall. The deficit grew because of new spending, such as prescription drugs for seniors, not reduced
          revenues.

          • Anonymous

            Can provide us with a link to back up your ‘fact’?

          • Anonymous

            Betty R, that’s quite a claim. Care to reference your source?

          • Anonymous

            I’m sorry Betty R, but you have been misinformed. Those tax breaks did just the opposite as what you claim.

          • Guest

            Proof that lowering rather than raising tax rates on the so-called “One Percenters” will raise more revenue for the government to spend on various programs…

            NYTimes: “The main reason is a big spike in corporate tax receipts, which have nearly tripled since 2003, as well as what appears to be a big increase in individual taxes on
            stock market profits and executive bonuses.”

            Unless liberals hate the rich so much they would willingly cut the revenues that fund  welfare programs just so they can stick it to the rich.

          • Guest

             Misinformed?! Well, maybe I should stop believing the liberal media, like the New York Times.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/washington/09econ.html

            In 2006, the New
            York Times reported a decline in the budget deficit, saying that “The main
            reason is a big spike in corporate tax receipts, which have nearly tripled
            since 2003, as well as what appears to be a big increase in individual taxes on
            stock market profits and executive bonuses.”

            And MSNBC:

            May 2006 “Federal revenue collections hit an
            all-time high in April, contributing to a further improvement in the budget
            deficit for the year.”

            http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18595849/ns/business-personal_finance/t/revenue-collections-hit-record-high-april/

          • Anonymous

            The rise in corporate tax receipts was _correlated_ with the Bush tax cuts. Correlation does not equal cause, as you claim.

        • Anonymous

          Yet Canadians frequently come here for specialized care. Hmmmm…grass isn’t always greener…

        • Anonymous

          “This is not the greatest country in the world anymore. ”

          That is obviously your opinion.

          “Not morally.”

          When all else fails for liberals, they always claim the moral high ground, which of course it is not. It is simply irresponsible.

          “This country is full of hate and bias. ”

          On that we can agree. I have never seen such hate and bias as I have seen coming from the left, especially since 2008. It is in the comments sections of these pages every day. You, SpruceDweller, are part of it.

          • Anonymous

            It is true, as a country, we have lost our moral high roads.

             In the past we would never do business with any country that supported child labor, but we surely do that today. 

            In the past we would never dream of shipping our American jobs overseas for a mere corporate tax break –or, to add insult to injury– to help corporations maximize profits, but we surely do today.

            Maybe I have been extremely naive, but I always thought America stood for something. Today I have serious doubts while seeing where this country is headed. It’s sad, really.

          • Anonymous


            I have never seen such hate and bias as I have seen coming from the left”

            There’s PLENTY of hate and bias coming from the right too.  If you can’t see it you must be blind.

        • Anonymous

           see ya!

      • Anonymous

        Sounds like you have been listening to Pauli and of course he wouldn’t lie to you.  Remember that $79 million tax cut he gave to his puppet masters?  There you go.  Remember that $300,000 he donated from state funds to study that useless road from Canada to Canada?  Time to open your eyes. 

      • Anonymous

        You can keep spouting right wing propaganda talking points all you want.  Come November, the GOP Clown Car is coming to a screeching halt.

    • Anonymous

      You could tax the rich to 95% and we still wouldn’t cover the federal budget gap. The rich might be getting richer, but it is not relevant.

      Maine DHHS benefits are more generous than most other states, yet we’re a state with very limited revenue possibilities. At some point, people need to take care of themselves.

  • Anonymous

    We need to cut with a scalpul like a surgeon, not like a butcher with a cleaver.

    • Anonymous

      Hard to use a scalpel for an amputation.

      • Anonymous

        Maybe if a little surgery was mixed into business school spiced up with a little common sense, we would have managers who could correct individual problems. Study up on how tree pruners work. They don’t cut down a tree because one limb is diseased. They trim that limb.

        What we have today is if a problem arrises with one individual the answer is to make blanket policy changes for everyone. Instead of correcting that one individual. Sort of what Governor LePage does.

  • Anonymous

    There are some items that could and should be cut IMO. We could eliminate free head start altogether. It really hasn’t shown that our children are progressing any futher than they did in generations prior to it. I believe that it has been used more as a baby sitting service than an educational tool. If it was all that it was cracked up to be the test scores and rate of functional illiteracy would have dropped out of sight.

    I do think that there are other items that could and should be cut. For instance the free breakfast and lunch programs in our schools, plus the after school snacks for those children who being cared for on the taxpayers dime after school. I see no reason why the tax payer should be double billed for the feeding of these children. Virtually all the children benefiting from this program come from families that qualify and are receiving Food Stamps or EBT cards. It is my understanding that these services are supposed to be used to feed the entire family. Why are the taxpayers responsible to feed these children up to 36 meals a week when there are traditionally only 21 meals a week for most people.
    We could as an option deduct the costs of these school meals from the family EBT allotments.

    • Anonymous

      Free & Reduced breakfast/lunch programs are federal programs, federally funded, both the foodstamps and breakfast/lunch programs have income guidelines, so if there were jobs that paid reasonable wages there wouldn’t be as many families qualifying for these programs. 

      As for the headstart programs, which you say didn’t exist a generation ago, also a generation ago kindergarten was half day and all about learning your alphabet and numbers, but now kindergarten is full day and your children are expected to know much more before entering kindergarten, so if we are doing away with headstart then we also need to lower our public education standards at which we are currently at.

      I’m not saying I agree with all of the states wasteful spending, but foodstamps recipients and families who use the headstart program are also tax payers. Also why should one person who makes $20,000/year be taxed at a higher percent than that of person who makes $60,000-$100,ooo/year. maybe if we stopped giving the rich tax breaks and mildly cut spending across the board, the state budget wouldn’t be full of huge cuts that will effect children and lower income Mainers. I’m just saying if Maine is “The Way Life Should Be” then maybe we should all think about what that means and ways to bring business and job opportunities to areas that have very little.

      • Anonymous

        I’m all for taxing the rich at a much higher rate than they are now. I am also all for parents taking full responsibility for “Their” children. As it stands now we are teaching our children, through all these entitlement programs that they have no responsibility as parents.

        I have no problem paying for the education of our children. My parents paid taxes and I have paid taxes all my life. Taxes that support the schools. IMO the schools are there to educate our children, NOT to be their parents and guardians.

        It’s a cop out to say that the food programs in the schools are federal programs. We, the tax payers, are the ones supplying the money through our taxes. We are the federal/state/county/town tax revenue source.

        Food stamp recipients and poor families pay taxes for sure. They are also getting paid to feed their children through these foodstamp programs. What are they doing with the extra money that they get to keep that should be spent on feeding their children? The school year is 180 days if I’m not mistaken. That’s 360 breakfasts and lunches per child that we the tax payer are paying on top of what the parents are getting paid to feed them through foodstamps. Multiply that nationwide by however many million children and then think how many education programs have been cut to try and keep school taxes down. How many teachers have been laid off? Language programs? Arts programs, music, etc.

        If the parents are not willing to get out of bed in the morning to feed their children before they go to school, the parents should reliquish custody of their children. They aren’t fit for the job.

  • Anonymous

    Oh my goodness.  I’m either dead or the world is ending, because I think I just agreed with a BDN editorial.  Dems ARE impractical.  Always spend, spend, spend even when we have a problem.

    • Anonymous

      And Republicans spend spend spend on SOCIALISM FOR THE RICH like endless no-ebid military industrial complex contracts, endless global militarism in general, endless subsidies for mega rich oil corporations, and on and on and on.  There is no end to the REPUBLICAN SOCIALISM AND WELFARE FOR THE RICH.

      • Anonymous

         Since when is taxing middle class retirees “Taxing the rich”?

        • Anonymous

          I don’t feel terribly rich…am I doing something wrong?

      • Anonymous

         Your guy Obama is doing a fine job on the global militarism front.

        • Anonymous

          Yep, he’s cleaning up the mess brought on by the last administration. At about the same speed as Nixon did in Vietnam.

          • Anonymous

             He’s following the same timetable as the last administration.  Different day, same political class.

    • Anonymous

      On a State level we have a problem with the democrats spending too much on the poor to the point where it became ridiculous.

      On the Federal level we have a problem with the republicans giving too many tax breaks to the rich until it is to the point where it is ridiculous.
       
      On both levels we have a problem with a dwindling middle-class who is left to subsidize the rich and the poor. That really is ridiculous and is not sustainable.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry to say your very reasonable comment will be in the minority here on the board of ultra lefties and uber rightwingers (and I will say ultra lefties seem to be in the majority). Practical, middle ground comments are NOT welcome!

        • Anonymous

          I think it is odd how people see a problem with one party or the other when the real problem is the two party system we are stuck in today; neither of which appear to work for the middle-class, though both parties would present theirself as our hero and savior. Both parties abuse their power to do favors for a very few in trade for money -ok let’s call it political donations just to give it another name.  The “donations” are not given because the “donors” truly believe in a candidate; it is given in trade for voting certain ways on a bill to increase profits for the “donors”. These “donations”, if you will, are also so politicians will sneakily slip (hide) a law into a bill that is sure to pass, knowing the hidden laws will not be discovered before any vote is cast and passed. These slimy hidden bills are written by numerous lawyers to get the maximum benefit for their employer at the middle-class taxpayers expense. Neither party, democrat OR republican are willing to do away with their cash cow, so the problem continues and is literally distroying The United States of America.

          If you want the perfect example read up on Monsanto and they have patented seeds that cross contaminate crops of other farmers and force the farmers out of business with lawsuits because the farmers crops are now “illegal” because they are “patented” by Monsanto. Anybody with common sense can see this is 100% wrong and that Monsanto should take responsibility for their pollen which is contaminating other farmers crops. But that is not how it works today with this newer breed of politicians who work for private “donors” and not the average taxpayer.

          If you want another example, read up on the Free Trade Agreements and how they cost millions of Americans their jobs and how corporate profits were maximized. We are living it today. And these agreements were  passed and signed by BOTH parties.

  • Anonymous

    “The cuts will cost the state $7 million in fiscal year 2014 and $20.8 million in fiscal year 2015.”

    No no no. The cuts don’t “cost the state.”  They save money – taxpayer’s money – remember them?

    • Anonymous

      It makes me chuckle when people say I’m somehow “taking” money from the government when I keep more.  That really says it all.

  • Anonymous

    There needs to be a cut off point to our give away programs. We need to cut funds to those who are using the programs as a way of life. Keep good records, prosecute the cheaters, end the cronic give-away. These programs are supposed to help people NOT support them for years.

    • Anonymous

      You’re talking about corporate welfare and tax breaks for billionaires, I trust?

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know any billionaires that pay taxes in Maine, do you?

        •  Well, $ussman is rumored to pay taxes in Maine, although whether he’s actually a resident remains open to speculation.

          • Anonymous

             rumors rumors…. US Virgin Islands too?

            http://library.findlaw.com/2000/Oct/1/127010.html

            Sussman has been a resident of the USVI for years, and uses a controversial tax shelter
            managed by the Virgin Islands Economic Develop Commission (EDC) for his
            company,
            Trust Asset Management. Though parameters of the tax shelter
            require his residence in the USVI, Sussman has recently claimed that he
            is a resident of Maine, since his 2011 marriage to Congresswoman
            Pingree. Pingree and Sussman continue to frequent their multiple
            mansions in the islands, and have entertained notable figures on their
            private jet vacations, including Congressman and former Chair of the
            Financial Services Committee, Barney Frank. Details of Sussman’s tax
            shelter use were reported by the Weekly Standard in 2010.

      • Anonymous

        Fine, plug all the loopholes. We’ll still have a big hole in the budget.

        • Anonymous

          Somehow, plugging these loopholes is NEVER part of the Republican agenda. They prefer to slash services for children, people who have been laid off, ill people, the disabled, and the elderly.

          • Anonymous

            It’s not part of EITHER party’s agenda.  It is the way both sides incentivize their favorite behaviors and reward constituencies.

          • Anonymous

            The point is the move would be merely symbolic. Taxing the rich will make you feel better (me too!), but it won’t make a difference for the budget.

  • Anonymous

    Tea Party Republicans are the first to scream, “it’s time to tighten our belts.” Take a look at their leader, the current resident of The Blaine House. Does it look like he is involved in much belt tightening on a personal level?

    • Anonymous

      No LaPage doesn’t care about the citizens of Maine, he cares about money for his family, and making sure he can hire them and pay them far more than they are worth for the job, and leaving Mainers to suffer thru his budget cuts and tell state employees they are pretty much worthless or corrupt, although he has not idea what or how much work state employees have to do with all the “frozen” “vacant” positions he has left to be done by the few employees that are left in many offices, as he has frozen wages and job positions so he can hire relatives whom he will pay 3x’s as much as many of his state employees who have devoted years of their life to their jobs, who have families to support and still qualify for state assistance because they are underpaid and over works.

    • Anonymous

       no different than any other politician.

  • Anonymous

    So what is the editorialist’s position? This is nothing but a wishy-washy analytical piece that ends with no resolution. Take a position!

    • Anonymous

       Gosh, Sometimes opinions are just that. Not everything has a black or white answer.

  • Anonymous

    Free money, thanks Obama

  • Anonymous

    Funny how the author doesn’t mention eliminating tax breaks for millionaires as one of the options. Just slashing services for children and people who are ill.

    • Anonymous

       Millionaires, including the liberal ones, don’t live in Maine, so it doesn’t matter how high you make their tax rate.  They are smart enough to spend 183 days in a state without punitive tax rates and just visit Maine for the rest of the year.  As a bonus they get to register their cars for about $30 instead of $800.

      • Guest

        ….

        • Anonymous

           The millionaires you know need better accountants.  The millionaires I know save enough in taxes to pay the mortgage on their homes in Florida.

          • Guest

            ….

  • Anonymous

    why dont these parents be parents.Most are on welfare any way. The parents should be teaching early skills not a third party which happens to much these days.Cuts need to be made.Some have to be given less To many democrats that just want your dollars for all the losers. enough!

  • If we cut programs that help kids we may save money now. The kids who we abandon now are not going to do so good in the future. They will not be well educated and they more than likely will create social problems as adults. Deal with problems now and find ways and funds to create social change that leads all to a sustainable future.

    • Anonymous

       Head start has not proven to value, but it sure makes a good club to attack those trying to balance the budget…

      http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/14/long-overdue-head-start-evaluation-shows-no-lasting-benefit-for-children/

      “In sum, this report finds that providing access to Head Start has
      benefits for both 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the cognitive, health,
      and parenting domains, and for 3-year-olds in the social-emotional
      domain. However, the benefits of access to Head Start at age four are
      largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole. For
      3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits, although access to the
      program may lead to improved parent-child relationships through 1st
      grade…”

      • Anonymous

        Nice “unbiased” source you got there! What a joke!

        • Anonymous

           Glad to see that you agree that the Obama administration is not unbiased.  They are the ones who performed the study.  Even they couldn’t spin head start to show it was beneficial.

          • Anonymous

             Uhhhh………sure…….if thats what you believe from reading this version of  Heritage tripe.   Believe anything you want.   I think i”ll stick with reality  though.

          • Anonymous

             Are you saying that the Obama administration did not produce the report?  What color is the sky in your world?

  • Anonymous

    For a minute there, I thought maybe the BDN was on the right track, but they disappoint yet again.

    This editorial indicates why leadership in governance can be made so much more difficult by the press. Hundreds of words expended picking apart detailed budget cuts by Republican leadership, and a mere two words to characterize the abdication of responsibility by the minority party: “not reasonable”. What a joke!

    We are left with this fact: the state and federal governments are far too big, and entitlements are the primary reason. If we are ever going to get it right, we need to retain true leaders like Mr. LePage, Mr. Raye, Mr. Nutting and others, and rid ourselves of the Harry Reid-like do nothings on the left. 

  • Anonymous

    People forget that the more socialist countries (Canada, Scandanavians etc.), rely on capitalist US  for their programs.
    I looked at this a couple years back.
      Take Canada for instance…I believe their 40+ % of GDP is in exports, which I think 70+% is to the US…we support their social programs (being less populated etc.).  As things get worse here eventually it will catch up with them as well, unless they sell their commodities to other “not so friendly” nations.
    Also keep in mind that Canada lost some of their soverignty to the US for military protective (although its hard to get them to admit to it).
    Also…it is true after NAFTA we lost almost 1 million jobs  fairly quickly.

  • Anonymous

    There are things which have been proposed that could be done.
    Most people would agree that people should not starve or freeze to death.
    Then run the food stamp program more like the WIC program used to be run.
    People get vouchers for staple food supplies (survivial foods)…beans, rice, milk, cheese etc..  No more card that can be used at fast food.
    You go once a week to the local truck or business and get your survival foods.
    Right now we have the first Lady of the US talking about how fat americans are and how unhealthy we eat, when the governments’ own food program is just another example of how wasteful and unhealthy they themselves are and have allowed people to become dependant.

  • Anonymous

    The State of Maine IS not broke so stop saying it. Remember the 14 million that was found after the budget was agreed to and what about the most recent 50 million just discovered and does anyone recall there’s a rainy day fund with a hefty amount of money in it, too. Yes, DHHS has real financial and programmatic problems but the are not to be laid at the feet of the elderly, disabled and  Maine’s working middle class. Roger Katz and his Republican cohorts on Appropriations apparently do not understand what being working middle class is and they certainly do not know what it is like to be elderly, disabled or have a child in need yet, like you I had hope that they would not take DHHS’s problems out on these most needy. Alas, they did and now the children will suffer, the elderly will suffer, the disabled will suffer and the working middle class will suffer, again. This is wrong. Roger Katz is wrong. Tell him so in November. And, that’s why I’m running for State Senate District 24 because I know there are better ways to fix DHHS problems, balance Maine’s budget, stop bickering, backstabbing politics and focus on getting Maine moving again.

    • Anonymous

       So Penny, Math skills not your strong point?

    •  If you’re running for state senate, you might want to review the actual debts owed by Maine, available at the Maine Treasurer’s website.

      Please keep in mind that Maine owes its employee pension accounts some $10 billion over the next decade, which is unfunded at present.

      Maine is indeed very much broke, thanks to several decades of unbridled spending by Democrats in both the Blaine House and the Legislature.

    • Anonymous

      “I know there are better ways to fix DHHS problems”

      Well, what are they?

      • Anonymous

        Politicians never want to tell the public those better ways until they get elected.  Feels a little like blackmail.  

  • Anonymous

    Because reverting  back to Reagan era tax rates would put a crimp  in the Gulfstream budget.

  • Anonymous

    Use projected revenues to lower TAXES.

  • It is a math problem, real plain talk-if you have more going out,than what you have coming in-then a budget is in order.  And cuts need to happen-now, who,what?? start with the govt staff, of enormous salarys, frivolus spending, then examine, make it a dominoe effect? If ya want people to get off services, we need better jobs,higher paying? I challenge any govt official to live on 25,000/yr-(2-3 people)-pay rent,mortage-bills etc.. Then they would see the big picture?

  • Anonymous

    If the money is not there, then we shouldn’t spend money we do not have.  It’s simpler then you think. Drop both of them……OR, stop whining and  drop something else to bring the budget in line.

  • Anonymous

    Cut cut!!!!! Head start. Cost 20,000 per kid and does not show any gains.

  • Lord Whiteman

    The question is, will you sell your soul for a bag of silver? 

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