• Lawmakers Look to Old Report to Deal with Budget Crunch

    AUGUSTA — As lawmakers restarted the process of finding savings in the state budget this week, much of the emphasis is on re-examining old ideas. The Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, which is leading an effort to find $30 million in savings for fiscal year 2011, was scheduled to spend most of Thursday reviewing

  • Public Employee Retirement System on Slow Track to Recovery

    AUGUSTA — The investment fund for the Maine Public Employee Retirement System, which has been ravaged by worldwide financial upheaval, appears to be on a slow track to recovery. Despite the better performance, the managers of the system are in early discussions about ways to soften the long-term impact of the financial crisis on the

  • Gubernatorial Candidates Proceeding at Varying Speeds

    AUGUSTA — With the primary election for governor still 11 months away, some campaigns are operating at full fund raising force while others still have a “zero” at the bottom of their ledger sheets. The first deadline for reporting on finances last week revealed that several privately funded candidates have been collecting donations in earnest.

  • State Must Borrow To Remain Afloat

    AUGUSTA — Sliding revenues and a budget plan that makes heavy use of reserve funds mean the state will need to borrow money in the coming year to remain in operation. State Controller Edward Karass told the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee last Thursday that without borrowing, the state’s cash position is so poor

  • Legislators Finding No Easy Answers on Road Maintenance Funding

    AUGUSTA — Early brainstorming by the Transportation Committee Tuesday for ways to fund the maintenance of Maine roads led repeatedly back to some of the same ideas that have already been rejected by lawmakers from both parties. At the core of the question is whether to add to the state’s gasoline tax, utilize money set

  • Legislators Facing Grim Task in Dealing with Worsening Budget Situation

    AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee will convene this week for the grim task of fixing a budget situation that’s becoming worse by the day. The committee’s goal is to find $30 million worth of savings across state government that can be put into place in fiscal year 2011. That task is ordered in the

  • State Employees Deal With First State Shutdown Day

    AUGUSTA — State employees across Maine stayed home without pay Monday in the first of 20 state shutdown days imposed by the Legislature to balance the budget. To illustrate that a gouge in their paychecks will affect the economy, some employees represented by the Maine State Employees Association Local 1989, which represents the majority of

  • Tax Reform Debate Still Going Strong

    AUGUSTA — The debate over tax reform in Maine rages on, despite the adoption of sweeping tax code changes last month that split the Legislature along party lines. The bill, which enjoyed an 84-61 majority in the House and a 20-13 vote in the Senate, is now the subject of a citizen’s petition that seeks

  • Potential Candidates for Governor a Diverse Lot

    AUGUSTA — The field of potential candidates for governor includes at least 22 people whose experience ranges from a Bath Iron Works electrician to four sitting members of the Senate. With well over a year left until the November 2010 election, many of the candidates said in interviews that they are not prepared to make

  • Fees on Suspended Driver’s Licenses to Increase

    AUGUSTA — The cost of restoring a suspended driver’s license or vehicle registration in Maine will increase by $15 next week under new provisions approved by the Legislature. Effective July 1, the reinstatement fee will increase from $35 to $50 on suspended licenses only. Regular license renewals will remain at the current rate of $35.