Along with deep cuts in national environmental and education programs, Bush's new budget takes aim at programs and services that are vitally important to our state. Virtually every news outlet in Maine has this story this morning. Here's a bit from the Morning Sentinel article:
President Bush's federal budget worried Mainers more for what was missing than what he included, with cuts proposed for Medicaid, Amtrak train service, defense shipbuilding and veterans benefits.
"This budget includes cuts to some of our most valuable programs that are essential to Maine -- including ill-advised and shortsighted cuts to our nation's shipbuilding budgets and reductions to essential heating assistance for our most poor citizens," said Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine[...]
Other aspects of the budget fared worse. l Medicaid is a closely watched program in Maine because the federal government pays about two-thirds of the health-care costs for the impoverished, disabled and children. But Bush's budget would cut $342 million that Maine is expecting over the next decade, according to the advocacy group Families USA. After five years, the cuts could deny services to 2,500 seniors or 13,400 children, according to the group.
"The greatest damage will be done to the sickest, oldest and most vulnerable people now receiving health coverage through Medicaid," said Ron Pollack, executive director of the advocacy group[...]
Michaud, D-Maine and a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, argued that troops returning home will be neglected. Funding for the Veterans' Affairs Department will fail to keep pace with medical inflation, and not meet recommendations from groups such as the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"At a time when we are creating new needs for veterans' health care every day in Iraq, we should support our troops and our veterans by strongly funding the VA health system," Michaud said.
2/3rds of the Bush cuts target education, with dozens of programs being eliminated completely. He did, however, find the money to increase funding of abstinence-only sex education by $39 million.
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