AUGUSTA -- On the heels of ordering over $35 million in immediate spending cuts to balance the state budget, Gov. Paul LePage has unveiled another piece of the puzzle: a two-year budget proposal -- setting spending priorities.
Both the governor and Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett say the state has to make some difficult choices in this still weak economy, and the governor's $6.2 billion biennium budget does not hold back.
What promises to be very controversial: the cutting off of revenues from state income and sales taxes to cities and towns over that two-year budget period -- the Administration saying municipal governments need to learn how to take care of their finances, but also pledging to restore the funding as soon as the economy picks up.
Also in the biennium: $60 million in cuts to welfare programs and the elimination of elderly prescription drug assistance.
Two-hundred state government positions are also on the chopping block.
Across the aisle, Democrats are already responding.
Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland) says suspending municipal revenue sharing would place a $400 million burden on taxpayers, and harm the middle class.
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