I wonder why several multi-million-dollar “shortfalls” have occurred in the Maine state budget.

Those deficits must be covered, according to the Maine Constitution’s balanced budget requirement. To comply, are certain programs shortchanged, or new taxes added, or a state expense passed on to the communities?

As I understand it, Maine’s spending for a two-year biennium is based on “projections” (money expected, but not in hand) by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review. They are skilled at determining the amount a revenue program should bring. Based upon these figures the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature budgets funds for each government area.

But unpredictable events occur. New laws are passed that require funding. An agency overspends its budget. The economy changes and tax revenues are lower. Federal funding is diminished. Sudden natural disasters require immediate attention.

Previous Democrat administrations have sold liquor concessions, lottery concessions and other annual revenue-producing assets just to fill a one-time budget need, not wise management.

When the Democrats have wanted to fund a program that exceeded current revenue limits they have withheld funds from hospitals and retirement programs, or tried to fund it with bonds.

The Democrat majority has allowed new law with no budget connection, without public notice or full hearing, to be included in the massive budget document.

I believe that Republicans can manage better, improve support of current commitments, live within our means, and not spend, spend, spend on new programs.

Thomas Shields, Auburn


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