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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

It was an exciting week here in Maine.

With near record turnout, Maine voters went to the polls on Tuesday and decided some of the most important issues facing our State.

While I know that many people were disappointed with the results, I am proud of all the folks who turned out to vote.

Voting is the backbone of democracy, and hundreds of thousands of Mainers from every part of our State took part on Tuesday.

On Question 1, I still firmly believe that Maine’s Constitution requires that we treat everyone in our State the same.

We didn’t take this issue on because we were certain that we would win.

We did it because it was the right thing to do.

On Tuesday, we didn’t reach the top of the mountain.

But we did change a lot of hearts and a lot of minds.

Mainers now have a better understanding of the issue.

And I remain impressed with the way the people of this State stood up and told their personal stories, and with the courage that it required.

Eventually, we will be successful in making sure all Mainers, individuals and families, are treated equally.

But for today, we must respect the judgment of Maine’s voters.

On several other issues, Mainers spoke loudly.

Voters rejected for the third time in recent years a ballot initiative often referred to as TABOR.

They also rejected a proposal that would have changed the excise tax.

And they affirmed their support for school administrative reform.

The votes demonstrate that people understand that Maine has reduced its budget to match the economic times while protecting our State’s core values.

Working with the Legislature, my administration reduced the State’s two-year budget by $500 million dollars, and did it with broad, bipartisan support.

It’s the first time in at least 35 years that a two-year budget has been less than its predecessor.

We maintained the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens and did it without raising taxes.

During these tough economic times, I know that we can not add to the tax burden of Maine families.

Voters recognized that we should not allow our budget process to be driven by formulas.

Through a thoughtful and deliberative process, we have shown our ability to balance the size of government with available resources.

I was also encouraged that voters supported our efforts to reduce administrative costs in K-12 education.

By rejecting Question 3, voters showed that they understand that the best way to help our students is to put resources into the classroom, not outdated administrative structures.

I know that it’s difficult to cut the State budget.

And I know it’s hard to change old habits.

But we must adapt, and we must be willing to change if we want our students to get the best possible education.

We have done much to reduce the cost of government, to make it more efficient and reduce its size.

But more work is necessary.

Early estimates suggest that State revenue for October will continue to fall short of projections.

The national recession continues to impact our State, and we must take action now.

I am preparing plans to immediately cut State spending.

The process is called a curtailment, but it’s a blunt instrument.

But I am prepared to use it to uphold my obligation under law and the Constitution of this State to balance the State budget.

Even after curtailment, more cuts are coming.

In December, I will submit to the Legislature revisions to the State budget.

Those changes will further cut spending and position Maine for the economic recovery to come.

Some of those cuts won’t be popular, but we can’t raise taxes.

Instead, we must balance spending with current resources. And that’s the responsible course of action.

While the lingering effects of the national recession require us to make more hard choices, I’m also gratified that Maine voters continue to recognize the importance of investing in our people.

On Tuesday, voters approved a transportation investment plan that will put thousands of people to work.

It will improve our roads and bridges, make important investments in ports and harbors and attract $148 million dollars in federal and other matching funds.

By investing in our infrastructure, we will create jobs and promote Maine businesses and give our economy a boost.

And as we look ahead and the passion from Tuesday’s election fades, I know that the people of Maine care deeply about their neighbors and their communities.

The strong turnout demonstrates just how much.

Your involvement and willingness to participate is the hallmark of a healthy democracy.

Thank you and have a good weekend.

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