Maine Gov. Paul LePage Follows Budget & Pension Pattern
March 3, 2011: Gov. Paul LePage speaks at a news conference at the State House Thursday in Augusta, Maine. The governor wants to help reduce the state’s $4.3 billion budget shortfall by changing how Maine’s pension system is funded. State workers say they’re bearing the brunt of cuts that will hurt their retirements.
Boston Globe: March 5, 2011: AUGUSTA, Maine—Gov. Paul LePage said Saturday that freezes and cutbacks in the retirement system he proposed this week are sensible reforms that save $524 million in past due payments and cut the state’s total unfunded pension liability in half.
Portland Press Herald March 10, 2011: PORTLAND – The LePage administration is proposing to cut state funding for residential treatment of alcohol and drug addictions, according to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse.
The $4 million cut would eliminate state funding for 10 centers statewide and would force them to either find new revenue sources or stop taking in addicts and alcoholics. One of those, Serenity House in downtown Portland, would lose $376,000 — more than half its revenue, said Robert Dawber, executive director of the 44-year-old treatment center for men.
“We would have to close our doors,” he said.
The two-year budget proposed by Gov. Paul LePage would eliminate a total of $4.4 million in state funding for substance abuse programs. The money, part of the Fund for a Healthy Maine, comes from a legal settlement with tobacco companies and would effectively be used to help pay for increasing Medicaid costs.
The loss of the $4.4 million also would trigger a reduction in federal aid of about $1.3 million, according to Guy Cousins, director of the Office of Substance Abuse. The overall loss of $5.7 million represents about 20 percent of the agency’s budget, he said.