Al Diamon's column this week is a trip through time, examining Baldacci's various announcements about cutting the income tax.
Governor Baldacci announced yesterday that cutting the state's income tax will be a major goal of his remaining two years in office. He declined to reveal where the money would come from except to say that he would look for efficiencies and cuts to programs rather than increasing other taxes.
This proclamation is completely at odds with a recent statement from a key member of his administration, as quoted in the Press Herald:
Ellen Schneiter, the state budget officer, anticipates the state will be looking at a $400 million-plus shortfall between revenues and costs in the 2010-2011 biennium, which begins July 1, 2009.
"We continue to look for opportunities to save money through efficiencies. Anytime we can do that, we're going to do that. But we have gotten the low-hanging fruit," Schneiter said. "We've got to take a hard look and see what's absolutely critical and most vital, and what we may be able to put off doing or not do any more.
"But that's a really, really tough exercise."
[...]"People expect certain things out of state government. Every program has its constituencies," she said. "This was a really difficult legislative session. It's not going to be easier this time -- I can project that with certainty. It will be harder this time."