Representative Sharon Treat
District 79 - Farmingdale, Hallowell & West Gardiner
 Newsletter & Update                                                       January 14, 2013
In This Issue
Out & About District 79
History of Maine Skiing
Scam of the Week - Impersonating AARP
Budget Statement
Facts About Medicaid & Hospital Payments

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Out & About 
District 79: 
Hallowell City Council
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
HFL

An Avalanche of Interest: The First 75 Years of Skiing in Maine

library 

Thursday, Jan. 31, 

7 p.m. 

 

Scott 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.

 

Arboretum ski
Pine Tree Arboretum
Scam of the Week:
aarpAARP 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 AARP cards.

 

The AARP says it doesn't ask for personal banking information from its members, and urges residents to be aware of the scam.

SAT headshot Dear Neighbors,

 

Although 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.

 

BUDGET REVIEW. 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.

Transportation Meeting
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.     

 

Sincerely,

Signature 

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
Dome

budget 

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

 

AUGUSTA - 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.

 

The governor's budget proposal cuts more than $400 million in funding for cities and towns, property tax reductions, and educational expenses for local districts.

 

"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."

 

Governor LePage's 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." 

Budget Myths & Facts

 Myths

 

MYTH: MaineCare is welfare and enrollment is out of control.

 

FACT:  MaineCare 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.

 

FACT:  The 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 ongoing expenses.

 

Hospital Payments: Settlements and on-going expenses

  

MYTH: Tax cuts pushed by Republicans are helping everyday Mainers.  

FACT:  The 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.
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Representative Sharon Treat | 22 Page Street | Hallowell | ME | 04347