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Maine News

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, March 6, 2008

Portland Press Herald

Round 2 of spending cuts proposed
The governor sticks to his stance of no tax increases, but some fees would go up to help the state.

Trimming state jobs 'a devastating blow'
The state workers union's chief says he will fight the elimination of some of the 70-plus positions.

Maine superdelegates hold their positions

Courts asked to trim more from budget
Prosecutors also face cuts as part of the proposed solution to a state shortfall of nearly $200 million.

Editorial: What did and didn't happen in Tuesday's primaries
The Republicans chose a nominee and the Democrats chose a long, hard fight.

Column: Church-hopping Americans keep congregational leaders jumping, too
A new study shows the challenges leaders face, but at least they're not as bad as a root canal.

Column: Cuts in domestic-violence funds unwise
The need for intervention and support is growing, and less funding will only make things worse.


LTE: Get troops out of Iraq to help stability

LTE: Increase minimum wage to help cover basic needs

Bangor Daily News

Denture-makers fight for self-regulation
Mainers in need of dentures could face higher costs if a proposal before the Legislature fails.

Educator from New York chancellor’s choice for USM
BANGOR, Maine - An administrator from City University of New York is being tapped to become the next president of the University of Southern Maine.

Validation ballots draw officials’ ire
Towns and cities around the state will be required to hold an extra referendum on their local school budgets this year, thanks to the school consolidation law.

The year of the supers
With Hillary Clinton winning primaries in Texas and Ohio Tuesday but Barack Obama remaining ahead in the delegate count, it looks as if the superdelegates will determine which candidate is the Democratic presidential nominee.

Editorial: Tax incentive breakdown

Shawn Lewin: Cutting services to elders has moral, money costs

Kennebec Journal

FEMA funds to homeless
A Waterville-based board will decide how more than $100,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds allocated to Kennebec and Somerset counties will be distributed to food and shelter programs, United Way of Mid-Maine officials said.

Education, Medicaid targeted in new round
AUGUSTA -- Gov. John Baldacci has responded to a worsening budget shortfall by proposing a new round of spending cuts that would trim education funding, restrict Medicaid services and eliminate 71 state jobs, all to keep the state in the black through June 30, 2009.

STATEHOUSE: 70 jobs to be eliminated, 48 of which are filled now
AUGUSTA -- A new round of budget cuts proposed Wednesday by Gov. John Baldacci would eliminate more than 70 state jobs, 48 of which are currently filled.

PAN AM RAILWAYS: Lawmakers consider takeover of Maine railroad freight line
State lawmakers' latest plan for improving freight rail service in Maine essentially comes down to this: engineering a hostile takeover of the rail lines owned by the state's largest railroad.

Editorial: McCain can wait patiently while Dems fight it out
It's not easy to feel sorry for Sen. John McCain. He's the son and grandson of admirals, a decorated veteran himself, and he bears his scars and genealogy with pride. The tough old bird survived torture and near-death as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, yet has never portrayed himself as a victim.

Column: Plight of overburdened middle class is serious national problem
As proposed state budget cuts have been announced over the past few weeks, a parade of complainants has descended upon the State House. The foster parents have come, the elderly, the consumers of mental health services.

Column: It's time for Legislature to get off the pot of ethics reform and do it
The 123rd Legislature adjourned its first regular session of the two-year cycle last summer leaving a lot of important lawmaking un-done, including the cleaning up of its own ethical stable.

LTE: Blueprint for action to counter recession
For more than a decade, I've had letters published as blueprints to prepare for the recession we're about to enter. Now is the time for direct action and this letter will propose a "three-prong economic counter attack."

LTE: Nuclear power revival has terrible consequences
I read the letter (Davis, Feb. 17) advocating a return to safe, affordable nuclear power and your coverage of Maine's interest in closer ties to the Maritime provinces and power grid. Although the proposal for a new nuclear plant in Canada was noted, it was soft-pedaled by our governor as an internal Canadian matter.

LTE: Can Democratic Party afford gender, racial splits?
In Ellen Goodman's Feb. 23 column, she suggests that the women's movement made it easier for Obama's success because he has become the attractive "Oprah candidate" by displaying "the transformative inspirational, collaborative, 'female' style."

Blame feds for economic woes, not Augusta
Maine cry-babies ought to give the state and local officials a break. Lean economic times are affecting every state, municipality, and school district even most developed countries. (How do you like globalization so far?) Our legislators have an extremely difficult task between providing needed services and balancing the budget. Cut 'em some slack.

Morning Sentinel

LTE: Sub-headline incorrect on Collins' video story
I was amazed to read the sub-headline in the Feb. 28 Morning Sentinel about Susan Collins' video attacking Tom Allen: "Video shows Allen burning flag," it reads.

LTE: Health-care workers need living wage, benefits
Why is Maine having this problem? The federal government does not seem to value the work done by direct care workers or value its elders or disabled, because if it did the reimbursement rates would change. More people need to voice their opinions to the federal senators and representatives and make this a priority. States match federal dollars.

Sun Journal

Dirigo bill goes to committee
AUGUSTA (AP) - As Gov. John Baldacci updated his budget adjustment plans with a new package of transfers and cutbacks that contains no new taxes, lawmakers are gearing up for a hearing next week on a bill to bolster Maine's Dirigo Health programs that relies on a set of tobacco tax hikes.

Maine delegation remains pat after latest primaries
AUGUSTA (AP) - With the Democratic presidential nomination still undecided after the latest round of primaries, the emphasis shifts to each state's so-called superdelegates, and the few in Maine who endorsed a candidate remained loyal to their choice Wednesday.

Baldacci unveils budget changes
AUGUSTA (AP) - Gov. John Baldacci, spelling out how he would make up for the second $95 million reduction in state revenue estimates in three months, unveiled a budget change package Wednesday that relies largely on new proposals to cut back planned expenditures, including on state aid to local schools.

Hard snuff ban closer to repeal
AUGUSTA (AP) - Maine lawmakers want to repeal a ban they enacted last year on the sale of a tobacco lozenge product known as hard snuff.

DHHS sends workers home after roof sags
AUGUSTA - Most of the 300 workers at a leased Maine Department of Health and Human Services building off Civic Center Drive were sent home Wednesday morning after discovering deformed ceiling panels caused by the weight of snow on the roof.

Maine student loans not at risk
AUGUSTA - Despite turmoil in the nation's credit markets, Maine students' ability to obtain education loans should not be significantly affected.

State school funds less than expected
AUGUSTA - A slowed economy and $190 million less in tax revenue means the state will not be able to boost education spending as planned.

Times Record

State ponders restoring retirement benefits.(full story)


Governor Spells Out New Spending Revisions
With the exception of two new fees, Governor John Baldacci submitted a plan to close a 95-million dollar budget hole that imposes no new taxes and does not deplete the state's Rainy Day Fund. Instead, it relies on significant cuts to education and health care programs for the poor and even more administrative belt-tightening. As A.J. Higgins reports, the governor's budget continues a process perceived by many as the shrinking of state government.

Coastal Schools Hit Hard By Budget Cuts
Among the school districts hardest hit by the 34 million dollar reduction in the state subsidy known as General Purpose Aid to Education are small coastal communities with high property valuations. These are towns that are known as "low receivers" of state aid, but whose year-round residents are not necessarily wealthy, and whose superintendents are dependent on every dollar they get. Susan Sharon reports.

Portsmouth Herald

Snowe, Collins announce release of $3.84 million in emergency
WASHINGTON, DC — US Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced that the United States Department of Health and Human Services has released

Veto of Maine school consolidation may be in works - 3/5/2008

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — As part of his new $95 million budget change package, Gov. John Baldacci is setting the stage for a possible veto of a school system consolidation bill pending in the Legislature.

Maine House kills bill outlawing sale of energy drinks to minors - 3/5/2008

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill to outlaw the sale of high-energy drinks to minors in Maine is dead for this year's session.


The outsiders: None of Maine’s indy candidates can win a seat in the US Senate, but they will have a say in who does Just a few months ago, the story-line of Maine’s 2008 US Senate race seemed inevitable.

Lincoln County News

Camp Kieve Does Not Contest Discrimination Report During a brief hearing in Augusta Monday afternoon, the Maine Human Rights Commission accepted an investigator's report that found reasonable

Ellsworth American

Super Delegate Issue Remains A Muddle for Maine Democrats