Committee Releases New Budget Plan 

The state Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has a plan to balance the budget.By a unanimous vote Monday night, the 13 members of the committee approved a proposal that would trim state spending by nearly $310,000,000 between now and June 30, 2011. Back in December, Governor Baldacci presented a supplemental budget that would fill a $438,000,000 gap.But due to the extension of federal stimulus measures for healthcare and better than expected state revenues, the Appropriations Committee was able to restore about $125,000,000 in funding to a number of critical areas. In the new plan, cuts to education have been reduced, and many of the severe cuts to human services have been modified.The committee is not proposing to increase taxes. Governor Baldacci is praising the Appropriations Committee for a plan he says “strikes the right balance” between cutting costs and protecting important programs.The amended version is likely to be taken up in the house later this week.