AUGUSTA — Gov. LePage formally signed a law today to balance the state budget through June, and at the same time urged lawmakers to make structural changes as part of the unresolved budget for the next fiscal year.

“In order to make the systemic changes that are needed to put Maine on better financial ground we must work together,” LePage said in his wrotten statement. “As members of the Appropriations Committee begin working toward common ground to resolve the shortfall, I encourage an open dialogue, which acknowledges the need for structural changes within government.”

The budget bill signed into law today effectively closes the shortfall in health and human services programs through June 30.

Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on May 15 to once again try to close an unresolved budget shortfall for the 2013 fiscal year. LePage used the line-item veto earlier this month to reject the Legislature’s compromise plan to cut spending on General Assistance, a welfare program administered by cities and towns, and Medicaid funding for institutional care. He is calling on lawmakers to make deeper cuts.

“Structural changes that will generate ongoing savings to our welfare programs must be considered. Difficult decisions must be made, but Legislators must summon the courage necessary to restore Maine’s fiscal health,” LePage said today.