Articles by Mal Leary

 

State police to crack down on seat belt use, distracted driving this summer

By Mal Leary on June 24, 2012, at 2:16 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — With a growing number of accidents, injuries and deaths involving distracted driving and a decreased use of seat belts; the Maine State Police are launching a summerlong enforcement effort starting July 1 to enforce laws to protect motorists. “About 50 percent of the victims of fatal crashes …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Maine Republican Convention at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta in May 2012.

LePage supports proposed turnpike toll increase, but blames poor past management

By Mal Leary on June 22, 2012, at 3:34 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Paul LePage says he supports raising tolls on the Maine Turnpike, but says poor management decisions in the past are requiring increases that could have been avoided or reduced. “We don’t have a choice,” the governor said when asked if he supports a toll increase. LePage …
Richard Rosen

Retirement system will need less state money in next budget

By Mal Leary on June 19, 2012, at 7 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — State retirement system officials have told the Legislature and the LePage administration they will need from $70 million to $80 million less than expected to meet pension obligations in the next two-year budget that begins July 1. Improvements in the stock market raised the value of the …
Maine Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass

Out-of-work Mainers hit by federal training cuts

By Mal Leary on June 17, 2012, at 1:33 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Tens of thousands of Mainers are out of work. Federal cuts to job training programs have resulted in fewer people getting training for new jobs, and it could get worse as Congress considers deeper cuts. “We have seen significant cuts in all of these training programs,” said …

Maine revenues up slightly, small surplus expected

By Mal Leary on June 15, 2012, at 9:38 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — With only a few weeks to go in the budget year, state revenues are up $24.9 million over revised estimates made in April and Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett says that means the state will likely end the year in the black. “You have to feel pretty good …

Maine only New England state to lose ground in GDP

By Mal Leary on June 12, 2012, at 6:45 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Experts say the closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station was the most likely reason that Maine was the only state in New England in 2011 to see a reduction in an important measure of the economy — the gross domestic product. “It is the primary measure of …
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins

Maine not taking full advantage of federal data to fight fraud

By Mal Leary on June 10, 2012, at 5:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Like many other states, Maine is not taking full advantage of the Public Assistance Reporting Information System operated by the federal government to help states find cases of fraud in a wide array of programs. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is concerned the lack …
Agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency remove and document evidence at 1237 State St. in Veazie on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008, where the ingredients for manufacturing methamphetamine were discovered.

Combating Maine meth labs costly and dangerous

By Mal Leary on June 07, 2012, at 4:18 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The national problem of homemade drug labs, mostly making methamphetamine, is growing in Maine and its cost is hitting law enforcement at all levels of government, including the state Department of Environmental Protection. “It is very much a concern,” said Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug …

LePage and Pingree support Internet sales tax bill

By Mal Leary on June 03, 2012, at 4:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage is urging passage of a bill in Congress that would allow states to collect tax on sales over the Internet, but 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree is the only member of Maine’s delegation that supports the bill. The rest of the delegation says they …

Maine to receive $49 million more in revenue than expected, but budget problems remain

By Mal Leary on April 30, 2012, at 5:35 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Lawmakers got some good news from the revenue forecasting committee Monday: Over the rest of the two-year budget cycle they can expect about $49 million more than was forecast earlier this year. The bad news is this is well short of what is needed to bring the …
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage speaks in Rockland in March 2012.

LePage stands by position that any borrowing needs to have voter approval

By Mal Leary on April 29, 2012, at 1:26 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says he has not changed his position that any bond issued by any state agency needs to be approved by voters at referendum. LePage said he is shocked at a vote by the legislature’s Appropriations Committee to kill a bill requiring an advisory referendum …
Mary Mayhew

Maine DHHS shortfall now projected at $82.5 million

By Mal Leary on April 27, 2012, at 6:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After weeks of intensive review of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Medicaid payment records, the agency is projecting a budget year 2013 shortfall of $82.5 million, down from the original $89 million. “It certainly is good news,” said Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, co-chairman of the …
Gov. Paul LePage

Let’s balance the budget before taking on more bonds, LePage says

By Mal Leary on April 22, 2012, at 2:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee will meet this week to consider bond proposals for dozens of programs and projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars but Gov. Paul LePage says it’s too early to even look at borrowing, given the state’s financial status. “I want them …
Robert Winglass

Maine labor comissioner pledges fast implementation of new unemployment fraud law

By Mal Leary on April 18, 2012, at 6 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass says his agency is gearing up to implement the new law on unemployment fraud, expressing his belief that fraud is worse than many believe. “I think there are more than perhaps are being credited, more people who are abusing the system,” he said …
Maine Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett

State revenues $35 million over estimates, surplus expected

By Mal Leary on April 15, 2012, at 1:58 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — With three quarters of the budget year complete, revenues are $35 million over estimates and Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett says his pessimism is fast being replaced with optimism that the state will end the budget year with a revenue surplus. “March was a good month, up $13.5 …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Family Business Forum at Husson University's Gracie Theater on April 5, 2010.

LePage tells New York City audience about his goals to reduce Maine taxes

By Mal Leary on April 10, 2012, at 7:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday that he wants to further overhaul Maine’s tax policy to include a flat 4 percent personal income tax and lower the corporate income tax rate. “In the state of Maine that is exactly what we are trying to do, to go down …

Transportation Committee split about using Highway Fund money for Maine State Police

By Mal Leary on April 08, 2012, at 4:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The immediate issue was funding $36,000 from the Highway Fund for part of the cost of a forensic chemist in the state police crime lab, but it triggered a far broader debate in the Legislature’s Transportation Committee over use of the fund for purposes outside of roads …
POLL QUESTION

Panel rejects LePage move to eliminate MPBN funding

By Mal Leary on April 06, 2012, at 1:39 p.m.
AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee voted unanimously late Thursday night to reject Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to eliminate all state funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, saying the issue had become a “political football.” Several committee members spoke at a late Thursday night work session about the service …

Agreement on LePage’s supplemental budget still elusive

By Mal Leary on April 01, 2012, at 2:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Members of the Appropriations Committee met Friday into the night and all day Saturday approving some spending items but still have several major budget issues to resolve in the governor’s supplemental budget, from eliminating income taxes on pensions to rewriting the general assistance laws to reduce costs. …
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage

Lawmakers fear LePage’s new Office of Policy and Management will be too powerful

By Mal Leary on March 25, 2012, at 3:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to create a new Office of Policy and Management, with expanded investigatory powers, is generating bipartisan concern among lawmakers. “This is a big difference and maybe there should be [concern],” said Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta. “Very few entities or individuals are allowed to …
 
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