January 3, 2013

Maine cutback order brings Appropriations Committee back early

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — Four days before the House and Senate are scheduled to return to the State House to get down to business for the 2013 session, the Appropriations Committee will be reporting for duty Friday — at leaders' request.

On its agenda is a $35.5 million curtailment order signed a week ago by Gov. Paul LePage. The governor said it's needed to balance the state budget for year ending in June.

Under the Republican governor's order, the Department of Health and Human Services takes the biggest hit, $13.4 million, followed by the Department of Education.

While the order kicks in immediately, it still faces legislative scrutiny because lawmakers must adjust the budget to reflect the cuts.

Democrats say they have lots of questions, such as its impacts on education and public health.

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