AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. John Baldacci says there were no easy choices in the cuts he ordered this week in the first step toward addressing a $140 million-plus budget shortfall.

In his weekly radio address, the Democratic governor says he limited direct impacts on people who need help the most, vulnerable populations of children, the disabled and elderly, and those watching out for public health and safety.

Baldacci says that “after six years of constrained state spending, there are no easy choices.” He says Maine’s weathered the economic downturn better than many states, largely due to economic and fiscal policies of the last six years.

In his party’s response, Senate Republican leader Kevin Raye says Mainers can expect bipartisan cooperation in solving the budget problems ahead. He says Maine voters have made it clear higher taxes are not the answer.