AUGUSTA — MaineCare cuts, long-term borrowing proposals and property rights are among the items on the agenda as Maine lawmakers return to the State House today to conclude their 2012 session.

Lawmakers will take up spending cuts to balance an $83 million shortfall in the state Department of Health and Human Services’ budget. Much of the budget balancing would come through cuts in MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Coverage for 19- and 20-year-olds and drugs for the elderly are among the targeted programs, along with funding for the Head Start preschool program.

Leaders of the Republican legislative majority are poised to use their numerical edge to pass the spending package, which brings into balance the state budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. It begins to make systemic changes in social service spending, which GOP Gov. Paul LePage has insisted upon, his spokeswoman said Monday.

“This is clearly a move in the right direction, with ongoing savings being achieved,” Adrienne Bennett said.

However, advocates for targeted programs warned the cuts will bring hardship to the elderly and disabled who depend on prescription drug assistance, infants and children who get home medical services, low-income people receiving dental services and 7,000 young adults who will no longer get MaineCare.

“This budget is dangerous and irresponsible. It will hurt working families, children, seniors and people with disabilities across Maine,” said Ana Hicks of Maine Equal Justice Partners, a legal aid and advocacy organization for low-income Mainers.

Also under consideration is a $95.7 million bond package, which has been endorsed by the Appropriations Committee but faces an uncertain fate before lawmakers. The five separate borrowing packages would raise money for roads, bridges and ports, the state community colleges, University of Maine and Maine Maritime Academy, drinking water and wastewater treatment improvements, and land conservation efforts.

Also awaiting action is the so-called takings bill, which addresses compensation to landowners in cases of seizures of their properties for roads or other public facilities. The bill was heavily debated before lawmakers recessed in mid-April.

“It has been a long road to get to this point, but we’re encouraged that we will be able to provide farmers and other Maine landowners some relief,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Andre Cushing, R-Hampden.

A Judiciary Committee compromise would allow landowners to recoup losses if their property loses at least 50 percent of its value due to a state regulation. The loss must be determined by independent, professional real estate appraisers.

In addition to those proposals are more than 40 bills that have won positive votes but await decisions on whether they will be funded. Prominent among those bills is a Republican-backed measure that would reduce Maine’s income tax rate to a flat 4 percent. It relies on revenue surpluses initially to pay for the reduction.

Democrats have dismissed the bill as a tax shift to local municipalities and call it the latest Taxpayer Bill of Rights, a reference to initiatives that have been rejected twice by the state’s voters.

“As written, this bill is as irresponsible as taking on a car payment after winning $100 on a scratch ticket,” said Rep. David Webster, D-Freeport, a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Also awaiting funding decisions are proposals to reorganize the state Department of Health and Human Services, to allow veterans organizations and fraternal clubs to operate up to five slot machines at their facilities, and to replace the seven-member Land Use Regulation Commission with a nine-member commission, eight of whom would be county commissioners or their designees.