Maine lawyer and historian Paul H. Mills examines Baldacci's gubernatorial term to date in a LSJ column. (registration required)
At the outset of his administration, Baldacci was both seemingly successful and popular, putting through a $5.6 billion bipartisan state budget, winning the support of over two-thirds of the Legislature in the process. His policy initiatives such as Dirigo Health and Pine Tree economic zones, also won wide initial acclaim. He vanquished a billion-dollar budget gap without a major tax increase. So far, so good.
But something else happened, even before the unpopular plan - from which he later wisely retreated - to sell off 16 years of future lottery proceeds in order to temporarily balance the budget. [...] Early in 2004, an intense public focus on the perceived need for an Augusta initiated alternative to the citizen-based tax revolt put the governor on the spot. There developed a perception that the Blaine House was not able to captivate public and legislative support for meaningful tax reform alternatives.
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