J. Timberlake: Cuts are unavoidable

On Feb. 23, the Legislature passed a bill to address the 2012 budget shortfall at the Department of Health and Human Services. The budget bill was the result of months of negotiation between members of both parties and both political branches, and it reflects our shared goals of fiscal responsibility and maintaining help for Maine’s most vulnerable.

Among the cost savings in the bill are $8 million in staffing cuts at DHHS, more than $7 million through increased use of generic drugs, and more than $28 million through eligibility-tightening measures that bring Maine closer to the national average for Medicaid eligibility.

It is unfortunate that some of those cuts had to be made, but the sad truth is that Maine has been spending too much on welfare for too long. The state is spending almost half again more on MaineCare than it was just 10 years ago, and enrollment has increased by 78 percent.

Legislators now face the task of finding a solution to the 2013 portion of the DHHS budget shortfall. The goal will be to plug that $84 million hole with long-term solutions to the annual DHHS budget woes.

I am confident that, once again, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will come together to make the tough decisions that the people elected us to make.

Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner

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Comments

DONALD FERLAND's picture

To Mr. Timberlake...how about

To Mr. Timberlake...how about we cut the farm subsidies the farmers get...it sure hasn't brought down the cost of food. I bet the voters in Turner would sure like that since there are many farms there. In fact, are there any subsidies attached to the orchard? Enough has been taken from the elderly, disabled, and children of this state. It is about time to bring jobs here so people can go to work. Do something useful in Augusta and start fighting for a way to get people to work and then we solve the problem of high welfare enrollments.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

We have????

"Maine has been spending too much on welfare for too long". We have, by what standard.
"....half again more on MaineCare than it was just 10 years ago, and enrollment has increased by 78 percent. Well, let's see. A 50% increase in 10 years that's an average of 5% per year. Medical costs are running 6% per year. Sounds like we are spending less that what we should expect. 78% increase in enrollment. Well that was before the Banks and their spokesman, the Republicans, looted the federal treasury and crashed the US economy. Maine is 10 years older. We have one of the oldest populations in the country. Again sounds like what we should expect.
The problem isn't spending. The problem is republicans changing the laws so that their rich allies are not responsibile for either their actions or the damage they do to the state.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

I'm seeing double.

Pattie, et al, I'm seeing two agree/disagree lines after each comment. For example, see Breton's comment below.

Actually, that's a bad example. Dan deserves to have his "disagree" number doubled automatically.

 's picture

Rep Timberlake, doe the right

Rep Timberlake, doe the right thing, IMMEDIATELY repeal the wealthy tax cut the legislature enacted during the last session. THAT is the only fair thing to do, otherwise you've created a war against the poor, elderly and disabled, and you and your party will forever be tied to that side of the war.

Ellen Levesque's picture

Dan---I would really like you

Dan---I would really like you to explain this supposed wealthy tax cut that you are so quick to tote out each time someone talks about cutting welfare and all these liberal give aways to those with their hand out here in Maine. I say good for Mr Timberlake and the others in Augusta who have had the courage to slow this drain on our state. The next thing I hope they tackle is making it manditory for anyone who wants welfare to make sure they have been here for at least 6 month, perhaps longer before they get help. Then make sure they are actively looking for work each week.

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

Get some new material, Dan.

You're getting booed off the stage.

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