Document Type



This is Governor John Baldacci.

It doesn’t seem possible, but April is already half over.

For most Mainers, that means vacation week, Patriots Day and that the Red Sox have started playing again.

Finally, we’re starting to see warmer and sunnier days.

But it also means that we are running short on time for the Legislature to finish its work on the State budget and other important priorities.

This year Maine faces an unprecedented global recession.

Our State and country are struggling under the weight of tremendous pressure.

Unemployment is above 8 percent and will likely rise. More and more people are looking for answers, looking for direction.

It’s now time to act.

Back in January, I presented a two year budget that proposed reducing State spending by $200 million during 2010 and 2011.

That’s the first time in at least 27 years that a biennial budget has been less than its predecessor budget.

My goal was to streamline government administration at all levels – local, county and State. Make the necessary cuts and reducing spending while still protecting our core priorities of education, economic development and our safety net.

The budget was difficult, but prudent.

Since it was introduced, I have worked steadily with the Legislature to make changes and improvements.

Now we need to finish the work so we can tackle an even tougher task looming ahead.

We know that Maine revenues, like the rest of the country, are not keeping pace with projections made last year when we began working on the budget.

The economy has continued to fall faster and farther than our State’s leading economists had predicted, and we have to make adjustments.

We are required under the constitution and law to have a balanced budget.

So at this point, we can’t be certain how bad things will be. But on May 1, the State’s Revenue Forecasting Committee will likely deliver the bad news.

Revenues will decline significantly, and we will be forced into a new round of very hard budget decisions.

There is no escaping the hard realities of the current economic climate.

Every part of State government – from our dedicated workers to the important programs and services they provide – will be called upon to make reductions.

Government will get smaller; and we will be forced to do many things differently.

But here’s what we won’t do.

We won’t raise taxes to balance the budget.

We won’t kick people off health insurance, although we might need to change their coverage

And we won’t end our commitment to the investments that will make our State stronger down the road.

Right now, there are ideas pending in the Legislature that would save the State money and improve the delivery of services.

I have proposed another idea of eliminating three State agencies and reducing the size of my cabinet by three commissioners. I want to combine the Departments of Agriculture, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Conservation and Marine Resources into a single Natural Resources Department.

That change alone would save more than $1 million dollars a year, reduce the size of government and lead to improved delivery of services.

There’s plenty of opposition to the idea from entrenched interests, but if we want to improve Maine’s economic condition, we have to be willing to make changes like this one and many more.

We have got to continue to reduce the administrations in schools, higher education, natural resources and corrections.

During my State of the State address, I quoted from the inaugural address of Governor Louis Brann, who was elected during the Great Depression.

He likened the economic conditions at the time to a person preparing for a long journey:

He said: “We must pack only the essentials. We (will) have to ‘travel light.’”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is our situation today. We can only afford to pack the essentials for the trip we will take during the next two years.

We must leave behind those things that we don’t absolutely need, and make the hard choices that will deliver us through the difficult days ahead.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I have no doubt that Maine can overcome this economic storm.

We have the tenacity and capacity to adapt, to make due with what we have and to lay the foundation for new growth and recovery.

The choices we will make in the coming days will set the course for our State. We cannot delay the work that must be completed.

Thank you and have a good weekend.

Exact Creation Date






Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save As"



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
The organization that has made the Item available believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information.