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...will Baldacci shrink the size of the state government in proportion to the shrinkage of the state's economy?
"Shortfall" now up to $1.2 BILLION.
There may be some "hope" on the horizon. More later, as it unfolds.Commons sense has a way of trickling in and much like a break in a dam, once it starts flowing, it doesn't stop unless a real effort is made to stop.Hang in there, "the times, they MAY be a changing"Ray
Every time a legislator writes a bill increasing spending the "shortfall" goes up. The entire "budget gap" is based on the presumption that legislators and government departments will get everything they want.If the legislature just voted a flat budget with the spending the same as last time there would be no shortfall or "structural gap". Sure there will be adjustments. Fuel costs more this year, but Augusta could just stop buying land to make up for that. Augusta could even sell some land to fund any unanticipated costs like some washed out bridges this spring.
Maybe it's like the school budget in Portland. maybe the entire "shortfall" all comes down to old promises to increase pay and benefits to union employees. Cut these and SHAZAM, the deficit goes away.Nah...it's easier to simply close a school and make a paper reduction of positions (mostly non union) than ask the employees to share in the hard times their own greed has added to. :eek:
As a health care reform activist on behalf of several taxpayer groups, I went to the H.A.T. group meeting on Friday. Trish Reilly, who heads HAT for the Baldacci administration, came up with a proposal to address the topic of "HIGH RISK" people who either can't be insured or have expenses which blow up their benefits.So I came, to listen to her 30+ member group discuss the proposal and learned several things:[list][*]Basically, this is a 'path' to a single payer lite non-profit organization which should really be called an expansion of government, i.e DIRIGO HEALTH CARE. We already have dozens of these organizations, including Medical Care Development and Rural Health Care in Farmington. [*]The composition of the 'high risk' pool shifted like a cake ice during the meeting; from those who private insurers won't insure, to the unemployed who can't afford insurance, and finally to the problem being faced by Great Northern workers. Respondents had to be quick on their feet to respond to the changing underpinnings of her proposal.[*]TAAA money, thanks to the Maine D.O.L. dedicated, so I thought, to workers displaced by NAFTA, would be tapped to startup DIRIGO. It would first cover Great Northern Workers, and then, as a baby single payer agency, 'expand' and sniff out any available funding. [*]Ignored, of course, was Tommy Thompson and the HIGH RISK POOL insurance plans---they were quickly dismissed by a Muskie analyst. [/list:u]
Slick weasel moves; but because this was a somewhat balanced group unlike the socialists who made up the Health Security Board, Mathematica, inc. ; there were enough informed critics to raise serious objections to this proposal.So if you think the Baldacci administration is going to make government smaller, you better sign up for my newsletter fast. A new non-profit, NGO is just another way to slide a fast one past the taxpayer.