LePage Announces Six Month Spending Plan For State 

Governor LePage today presented his spending plan for Maine for the next six months.His proposed supplemental budget focuses mainly on paying down debt the state owes to hospitals.Maine would pay nearly $250-million to hospitals for debts racked up from 2006 thru 2009, leaving the state owing another $150-million to hospitals.LePage says by not paying those bills, the state caused a fiscal crisis in the hospital industry that cost 600 jobs. “This budget is living up to the promises we made on the campaign trail. It’s fiscally responsible. There’s no gimmicks, no tricks, it’s straightforward and honest,” said Governor LePage. Democratic lawmakers don’t see the supplemental budget as unusual, but do have some questions. “They’ll be a lot of questions on the structure of the hospital payments,” said Representative Emily Cain of Orono. “What exactly does it cover? You’ll see a lot of question and answer, a lot of pushing into the details.”The Governor’s plan would provide tax relief for some Mainers. Changes made by the federal government provide credits for teachers and others for out of pocket expenses.That will cost the state an additional $4.5 million, but LePage says at least that money will wind up in the pockets of about 100,000 Mainers.The supplemental budget would take hold immediately providing it’s approved by two-thirds of the legislature. Hearings are set to begin before the end of the month.