Governor Baldacci Chooses Budget over Dirigo 

Governor John Baldacci decided not to send a representative to Thursday’s public hearing on a bill to bolster the troubled Dirigo Health program.

In a letter, the administration said the governor’s first priority right now is to balance the budget.

Baldacci has championed his state health plan, aimed at helping small businesses afford insurance for their employees.

The revised proposal includes a new funding mechanism for the subsidized health care program, including a tobacco tax increase.