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Maine budget-balancing bill signed by governor

Medicaid cuts make up most of an $80m shortfall in the budget signed by Governor Paul LePage. Robert F. Bukaty

AUGUSTA, Maine - Even though Governor Paul LePage signed a bill Wednesday to make up for an $80 million budget shortfall largely through Medicaid cuts, the debate is far from over. Maine voters can expect the cuts to become an issue in this year’s legislative election.

“What the debate demonstrates is the difference between the parties,’’ state Senator Philip Bartlett II, Democrat of Gorham, said hours after the Republican governor signed the bill. During the Senate debate the previous night, he labeled the budget “a political manifesto’’ for the GOP.

Democrats will point to effects on social services, but Republicans will stress fiscal responsibility issues.


Republicans used their majorities in the House and Senate on Tuesday night to pass the bill that fills an $80 million shortfall largely through cuts in Department of Health and Human Services programs.

Democrats say the budget cuts will take health care services from more than 24,000 Mainers. They had supported a proposal they said would have used surplus funding to blunt the impact on seniors, children, and working families.