Baldacci to Unveil Budget Plan 

Gov. John Baldacci this week presents the

details of his two-year state budget for Maine — and the spending

blueprint is sure to drive much of the legislative agenda in the

months ahead.

The governor has scheduled a news conference for Friday (at 2

p.m.). The state’s top fiscal officials, as well as the heads of

the departments of Health and Human Services, Corrections and

others will also be present.

The governor has said that the two-year budget must account for

a projected revenue decline of $330 million, plus an additional

$508 million in requests to keep state government running at its

present level.

That’s virtually certain to add up to a lot of cuts in state

programs during the budget period that starts July 1.

Before the Legislature can get to work on that budget, it must

resolve a recession-driven, $140 million gap in the budget for the

present fiscal year, which ends June 30. Hearings on Baldacci’s

revised budget to address that shortfall begin Monday. It calls for

elimination of 94 state positions, including 40 layoffs.