Budget Concerns 

(AP) – Two legislative committees today are continuing week-long hearings on the human services portion of Governor John Baldacci’s biennial budget proposal.

On Wednesday, a Baldacci administration plan to pay less to mental health service providers came under sharp attack.

Some in the audience wore black clothing to signal their unhappiness with proposed budget cuts.

Baldacci administration officials say care management initiatives for mental health system clients could generate about 54 million dollars in savings over two years.

They also said standardizing Medicaid payment rates and lowering the highest provider-specific rates could net another 20 million dollars.

The savings have been proposed within Baldacci’s six-point-four billion-dollar budget package for the two years beginning July First.