March 9, 2011

300 protest LePage's proposed welfare cuts

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA — More than 300 people gathered in the State House Hall of Flags today to protest cuts to human services in Gov. Paul LePage's budget.

"To our governor and our legislators, we say, don't drop the baton," said the Rev. Jill Saxby, executive director of the Maine Council of Churches. "Don't let Maine drop out of the generations-long advance toward a more just and compassionate way of living together in community."

Today, the Legislature's Appropriations and Health and Human Services committees are reviewing parts of the budget that change reimbursement levels and eligibility standards for general assistance, eliminates "instant eligibility" for welfare benefits for legal noncitizens, and changes the disability determination cutoff from 45 to 90 days for those who are disabled.

As of 11 a.m., 110 people had signed up to testify. Public testimony is expected to start this afternoon.

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