State Revenue Numbers Down 

Maine fiscal officials say rising unemployment is cutting into state revenue. Governor John Baldacci’s budget chief, Ryan Low, told lawmakers on Thursday that general fund revenue in February was under budget by more than $20,000,000, or by 15.2%. That put the general fund below budget by $16,100,000 – about 1% – for the first eight months of the fiscal year.A major drag has been sales and use tax receipts which are down by more than $5,000,000 for February.Year-to-date sales tax revenue is under budget by $26,000,000, or 4.3%.Maine’s unemployment rate in January was 7.8% – up from 4.8% a year earlier.