AUGUSTA – A day after Gov. John Baldacci said he was willing to discuss raising taxes as a last resort to balance the budget, the governor changed his position, saying tax hikes are now off the table.

Delaying the expansion of Medicaid through the Dirigo program is still up for discussion, however, Baldacci said Wednesday.

On Tuesday Baldacci told the Sun Journal and Press Herald, as well as Maine Public Radio on Monday, that he was not ruling out increasing some taxes. But on Wednesday the governor said he would not listen to proposals to raise any kind of tax.

“I wasn’t as clear as I needed to be,” Baldacci told reporters. “I said I was willing to listen. But that’s been misconstrued by headlines that indicated I’ve shifted my position. … We’re talking semantics. I take responsibility,” Baldacci said.

“I needed to be clearer to Maine people that right now the governor isn’t even listening. He’s going to balance this budget without raising taxes, period,” Baldacci said.

“There will not be any tax increase proposed by the administration or supported by the administration,” he said. “I was not as clear in my discussions yesterday as I should have been.”

Baldacci said he was trying “to engage everybody in the discussion. But now I’m just going to have to grab the reins and be able to demonstrate the responsibilities of leadership and say we’re going to do it, and it’s not going to be done with tax increases.”

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