January 11, 2013

LePage speech foreshadows budget cuts

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Maine must restructure welfare programs, cut spending on education, reduce revenue sharing to municipalities and eliminate 200 state jobs, Gov. Paul LePage said in a pre-recorded speech released this afternoon.

"These are challenging and difficult times," LePage said. "Our state is facing a fiscal crisis and we need to examine our spending practices, evaluate the delivery of services and gain control of our welfare system."

While more details are expected later today when he releases a new two-year budget plan, LePage said his proposal will include the elimination of 200 state jobs and $30 million worth of cuts from "lowest-value programs."

He said the reduction in revenue sharing to communities would be temporary.

"I commit to you here that we will restore revenue share as soon as this economy improves," he said. He said the loss in revenue sharing "is a reflection of growth in welfare in Maine."

LePage is expected to brief reporters and provide more details at 3 p.m.

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