• Legislators Differ in Assessing Health Care Progress

    AUGUSTA — Governor John Baldacci and several Democratic legislators gathered recently to celebrate newly enacted laws they say will improve cost, quality and access to health care in Maine, but some Republicans argue that the real story is about the legislation that failed. Among the achievements cited by the Governor were 14 bills sponsored by

  • Resolution of Saltwater Fishing License Debate Delayed Another Year

    AUGUSTA — Resolution of a years-long debate over whether saltwater fishermen in Maine should buy a license or report to a registry was delayed for another year by the Senate June 10. Two passionately debated bills have been working their way through the legislative process all session. One of them, drafted by the Department of

  • Tax Reform Bill Moves Swiftly Through Legislature

    AUGUSTA — A tax reform bill introduced June 11 by Governor John Baldacci took just a few hours to do what took a similar bill several months. A reform package championed by legislative Democrats since early in the session had awaited Baldacci’s signature since June 5, when the House and Senate enacted it mostly along

  • Plunging State Revenues Force Another Budget Fix

    AUGUSTA — A trend of nose-diving state revenues continued in May, according to new data, which will force the Legislature to enact yet another budget fix before it adjourns. Revenues for the month of May were $21.2 million under budget, pushing year-to-date totals $13.1 million into the red. The drop-off in revenue is so severe

  • State Shifts Cost Burden To Towns

    AUGUSTA — Hancock County towns are bracing for the worst as cuts in the state budget shift at least $140 million in costs from the state to municipalities over the next two years. The shift creates a situation as dire as the recession of the early 1990s, according to Geoff Herman, who monitors the Legislature

  • Baldacci Undecided on Tax Reform Legislation

    AUGUSTA — Governor John Baldacci remained undecided Tuesday about whether he’ll sign legislation to reform the state’s tax code while he and lawmakers negotiated changes that the Governor deems more acceptable. The House of Representatives voted 84-54 and the Senate voted 19-15 — with very little Republican support — to send the measure to Baldacci

  • Legislators Vote to Delay Consolidation Penalties

    AUGUSTA — The House and Senate have voted to delay penalties against school districts that don’t comply with the school consolidation law, which the Senate chairman of the Education Committee said he hopes will send a message to Governor John Baldacci. “Essentially, we are giving our message to the Governor,” said Sen. Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland

  • Legislators Deadlocked Over Borrowing Figure

    AUGUSTA — Legislative leaders are deadlocked over how much the state should borrow for major projects, though members of both parties said Monday they’re hopeful they can reach an agreement soon. The negotiations will have to produce results quickly if the Legislature is to meet its goal of adjourning for the summer by Friday, though

  • Holiday Will Tax Budgets, Not Help Economy

    Raise your hand if you would rather not pay taxes. Okay, hands down. Now raise your hand if you want good roads and schools, and someone to show up if your house is on fire. Alrighty. Most of us understand that we get a benefit for our taxes, but we want them to be fair