GOP leaders lay out plan to close state budget gap

12:39 PM, May 10, 2012   |    comments
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine's top legislative leaders say they'll pass a Republican-backed budget to fill an $83 million shortfall - with or without support from minority Democrats.

Republican House Speaker Robert Nutting and Senate President Kevin Raye said Thursday that Republicans will pass a budget package at next week's session that makes long-term changes in MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program. They said the cuts will not hurt children or Maine's most vulnerable citizens.

The budget would remove 19- and 20-year-olds from MaineCare, cut Family Planning funding and reduce the home visitation program, among other cuts in Health and Human Services programs. It would also increase the amount of retirement income that's not subject to income taxes.

Raye says MaineCare's grown from 12.5 percent of the state budget in 1998 to 21 percent now.

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