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The Department of Health and Human Services is over-budget by $400 million for the biennium. Democrats want to put the state's liquor revenue in the general fund to enable growth in DHHS spending. Republicans want to use that money to pay the state's debts.
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For Immediate Release

Date: 03/05/13

House Republicans React to 2008 Video of Sen. Alfond

Maine GOP released video exposing Democrats' avoidance of hospital debt

AUGUSTA - The Maine Republican Party this morning released a 2008 video of current Senate President Justin Alfond expressly advocating for the state to simply not pay the hospital debt as a way to close that year's budget gap.

"This video explains why we owe Maine's hospital's almost $500 million today," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "Today, Senator Alfond says he wants to pay this debt, but he and the Democrats have not signed on to the Governor's responsible plan to do so. Until they do, I have to believe that they haven't changed their view since 2008. It's time to start paying our bills and creating jobs. Letting the liquor revenue go into the general fund would simply enable the expansion of the program that created this debt in the first place."

Assistant Leader Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton) agreed.

"It's amazing to me that the day after Senator Alfond and Democrats started arguing for an expansion of Medicaid, we see a video that shows how they created hundreds of millions of dollars in debt by expanding that very program and letting their bills pile up," said Rep. Willette. "As the Lewiston Sun Journal's editorial board wrote this morning, the only way to realistically pay the hospital debt is with the Governor's plan. Without a revenue bond, there is nothing to hold the Democrats to their empty promise to pay off the debt."

According to the Maine Hospital Association's website, the state's debt has caused a loss of roughly 300 hospital jobs, frozen wages and reduced benefits, delayed payments to vendors, delayed necessary capital and maintenance projects, and even the closure of a maternity ward. Yesterday, on the George Hale & Ric Tyler WVOM morning show, the Hospital Association's president said that paying off this debt would stop the layoffs currently rampant among Maine hospitals, aside from simply being the right thing to do.

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Contact:
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793