AUTHOR: Slublog DATE: 3/18/2004 09:59:00 AM ----- BODY: Baldacci's "Clarification" - Governor John Baldacci campaigned on a promise of no new taxes. Earlier this week, he changed his position on tax hikes, saying he wouldn't rule them out. Now he's further clarified that position, saying he would veto any budget that includes tax increases. However, he's adamant that the Dirigo Health Care giveaway program go forward, despite the enormous financial burden the entitlement program will put on the state budget. With a $2.9 billion shortfall due to bad accounting in DHS (and no accountability - someone needs to put Kevin Concannon in front of a legislative committee to explain himself) this is no time to be adding new financial obligations to the state's budget. Baldacci's insistence on Dirigo comes at the cost of higher education and property tax relief, and the financial costs involved will severly hinder the state's ability to offer strong economic development packages to businesses that may be interested in Maine. --------