Out & About
Hallowell City Council
City councilors were sworn in on
January 2, and the council honored Jane Orbeton and Gerry Mahoney for
their extraordinary work organizing multiple events for Hallowell's
250th anniversary in 2012. Congratulations also to new city councilors
Alan Stearns and Jeb Wartman. For more about Hallowell doings, check out
the city website
Upcoming Event of Interest: A History of Skiing in Maine
An Avalanche of Interest: The First 75 Years of Skiing in Maine
Thursday, Jan. 31,
Andrews, curator and research director at the Ski Museum of Maine, will
talk about the early days of commercial skiing in Maine, 1870-World War
II. His presentation will include the impact of various Scandinavian
nationalities, winter carnivals, & visionaries of the early 20th century.
This is a joint program with the Vaughn Homestead, which will have on display ski-related items from their
collections. Sponsored by Friends of Hubbard Free Library. Refreshments will follow the presentation.
Pine Tree Arboretum
Scam of the Week:
AARP warns of phone scam in Maine
The Associated Press --
PORTLAND - The AARP
is issuing a warning about an apparent phone scam in Maine in which
callers are fraudulently identifying themselves as AARP representatives.
The AARP says the
Lincoln County Sheriff's Department has been contacted by residents
saying callers are asking for personal information including a phone
number, address and banking information in order to send them their new
The AARP says it doesn't ask for personal banking information from its members, and urges residents to be aware of the scam.
| Dear Neighbors,|
most legislative committees are just starting to meet, the
Appropriations Committee has already been busy reviewing the Governor's Curtailment
Order. In addition, the Governor released his proposed 2-year
(Biennial) Budget for Fiscal Years 2014-15, as well as a Supplemental
Budget that would affect the current fiscal year. All of the budget
bills are posted here.
These proposed budgets contain some drastic cuts. For example, all
revenue sharing to towns -- money that pays for firefighters and other
services -- is eliminated for two years, and funding for Drugs for the
Elderly eliminated. This is on top of cuts in the current budget year to
the Medicare Savings Program,
which helps more than 5,000 seniors pay for drugs in the "donut hole"
and other medical expenses. The Legislature's budget review is just
starting, and the Appropriatio
ns Committee will be holding many days of public hearings. You are
welcome to participate in these hearings, as well as to forward any
written comments you may have to the Committee. I will do whatever I can
to insure that any budget we pass is a fair one that provides essential
services and also positions Maine so that we can have a forward-looking
economy and society. Feel free to contact me to express your views and
to make suggestions. See the article below
for more on the Governor's proposals. I have also provided some
background information on Medicaid and hospital payments, two budget
issues about which there can be a lot of misinformation. Read "Budget Myths & Facts" to learn more.
TRANSPORTATION MEETING. Last
week, more than 50 people showed up at a meeting I hosted at the Cohen
Center in Hallowell to discuss how we can improve transit so that
whether you are old or young, disabled or able-bodied, have a driver's
license or not, you can get to work, participate in community events,
shop, get to medical appointments, and simply live a full life. It
was a very interesting meeting with lots of good ideas and interest in
connecting up fixed-route services such as KV Transit with volunteer
drivers and other services. We didn't come out of the meeting with
a master plan, but I will be submitting legislation. Other legislators
participating included Rep. Mick Devin (Damariscotta), Rep. Gay Grant
(Gardiner), and Rep. Matt Pouliot (Augusta). You can read more in this
article in the Kennebec Journal.
Some of the participants in the transportation meeting last week
KEEPING UP WITH THE LEGISLATURE. This week and next, most committee will be having orientation and meeting with agency staff and stakeholders, with public hearings later in the month. If you want to see the hearing schedule, it is POSTED ONLINE along
with many other meetings and events at the Legislature. Many public
hearings and also some work sessions on bills are streamed over the
Internet. All printed bills are available online and the bill
search function is pretty ea
sy to use. I have it linked to MY WEBSITE and its also easily accessible on the LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE. If you can't find something you are looking for, by all means EMAIL ME.
PS, check out the "Scam of the Week" - make sure you aren't taken in! Also, there are some fun events around the district - see the Lecture on Skiing History at the Hubbard Free Library. Let me know of other events of interest for future newsletters!
Budget is Proposed by Governor
Statement on the Budget
Office of the Speaker of the House
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 11, 2013
Governor's budget shifts costs to middle class, hurts Maine's economy; Democrats hope for a more reasonable and balanced approach
Democrats expressed strong concerns that Governor Paul LePage's two-year
budget, released Friday, unfairly burdens the middle class, small
businesses, communities, elderly and the poor. The
governor's budget proposal will eliminate state funds for programs that
help the elderly pay for medicine, gut property tax relief, and cut
state funding to cities and towns, hurting thousands of Maine families
and stifling the state's weak economy.
"We need a
balanced and responsible budget that won't undercut our state's economy
or harm our effort to grow the middle class," said Senate President
Justin Alfond, D-Portland. "This budget will raise taxes on the middle
class, small businesses, and the poor. Maine needs a budget that
strengthens our towns and will get our economy moving."
In 2011, Maine was the only state in New England where the economy shrank. It is one of three states in the nation to have revenues fall below projections this year.
budget proposal cuts more than $400 million in funding for cities and
towns, property tax reductions, and educational expenses for local
"This budget will only put more pressure on our communities," said Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. Alfond added, "This budget will result in property tax hikes for Maine families."
budget also eliminates funding for the Drugs for the Elderly program,
cutting nearly $40 million over three years.
"The governor is prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy over medicine for our elderly," Eves said. Tax
cuts that largely benefit the wealthy contributed to significant
portion of the shortfall, accounting for over $400 million, or nearly 45
percent, of the structural budget gap.
Democrats hope to work with Republican lawmakers to craft a more balanced and responsible budget.
The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee will begin reviewing the Governor's budget later this month.
"This budget is a
reflection of the governor's priorities," said Senate Chair Dawn Hill,
D-York. "While we may not share the same priorities for the budget, we
are all committed to crafting a balanced, responsible budget in a fair
and transparent manner."
House Chair Peggy
Rotundo, D-Lewiston, said Maine people can expect a careful and thorough
review of the budget, with ample opportunity to weigh in.
"We will be
reviewing all proposals and weighing our options," Rotundo said. "There
will be many opportunities for all members of the committee, and the
public, to ask questions about the impact of the governor's
Budget Myths & Facts
MYTH: MaineCare is welfare and enrollment is out of control.
is a health care program. It provides health insurance and
prescription drug coverage for the elderly, disabled, mentally ill and
the poor. Seventy percent of enrollees are either children,
seniors or individuals with disabilities. MaineCare payments go to
hospitals and health care providers to provide services not directly to
eligible individuals. According to the Department of Health
and Human Services, the total funding for the MaineCare program
has been largely flat since 2006. Last year, enrollment in the
program was cut in the budget. MaineCare caseloads have increased
since 2002.. Growth in enrollment was largely been linked to the
recession and from enrolling nearly 20,000 seniors and people with
disabilities getting prescription drug help paid for with all state
funds to the Medicaid program in 2007, where the state gets the b
enefit of federal matching funds.
MYTH: Maine has been failing in its duty to pay off its debt to hospitals.
state has been steadily and increasingly paying down hospital debt,
with the largest payment made in 2009. In 2009, we changed the way we
pay hospitals to a pay as you go system to better manage our debt. The
change was began to be implemented in 2010. Over the last two years, we
paid the hospitals $276 million in settlements for prior debt plus
Hospital Payments: Settlements and on-going expenses
MYTH: Tax cuts pushed by Republicans are helping everyday Mainers.
tax breaks in the biennial budget passed in 2011 only provide the
average middle-income Maine family with $119. The top 1
percent, however, could get back almost $3,000. The top 1 percent
in Maine have an adjusted gross income of $356,608 and up and get
an average tax cut of $2,810. The tax cuts, which largely benefit the
wealthy, contributed to significant portion of the shortfall, accounting
for over $400 million, or nearly 45 percent, of the structural budget
gap. The changes cut the top income tax bracket rate from 8.5 percent to 7.95 percent.
This newsletter was written & produced by Rep. Sharon Treat at my own expense.