$63 Million Slashed in State Spending with More on the Way 

(AP) – Governor John Baldacci has ordered Maine state departments to curtail spending by $63 million to make sure the budget is balanced. Baldacci issued the order for the current fiscal year as preliminary estimates showed a shortfall in the two-year budget approaching $400 million, or nearly 7 percent. The governor’s order stands until the Legislature returns in January for its 2010 session and modifies the budget. Lawmakers passed a budget this year that slashed spending by $500 million, giving Maine the first budget in three decades that was smaller than the previous one. As he issued his order, Baldacci pledged not to support increased taxes to close the budget gap. He plans to submit a budget reflecting the plunging revenues to lawmakers in December.