Baldacci says paying hospitals with liquor contract was his idea

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BaldacciGov. John E. Baldacci took to radio Tuesday morning to correct Republican “half-truths” and “misstatements” concerning Maine’s nearly $500 million hospital debt, but wound up spinning his own false yarn.

On the Voice of Maine’s George Hale and Ric Tyler Show, Baldacci echoed comments made at a press conference last week that ads run by Maine People Before Politics, a 501(c)4 group connected with Gov. Paul R. LePage, were rife with falsehoods.

Baldacci said he called a press conference last week to call attention to the half-truths and misstatements of ads run by Maine People Before Politics. In exchange with Tyler, however, Baldacci introduced a revisionist view of his administration’s handling of the liquor contract and the hospital debt.

[RELATED: Change of Heart: Democrats finally cave on paying hospitals…]

Baldacci said he inherited hospital debt and “did not complain about it,” but instead crafted an agreement with the Maine Hospital Association to pay down the debt.

“In fact, we ended up in agreement with the Maine Hospital Association to pay off more than $473 million in settlements to them,” said Baldacci. “I used Recovery Act dollars to make sure that first in line was the hospitals to take care of those settlements,” he said.

Tyler then raised an obvious question: If Baldacci entered an agreement to pay the hospitals, then why are we still trying to pay them?

Said Tyler, “We had a plan in place, then, to pay the hospitals and take care of the debt. Yet the debt still exists today. Where was the disconnect?”

Said Baldacci, “No, there was no disconnect, Ric, because the idea was the renewal of the liquor contract or going out to bid would give the state the resources in which to wipe it out so we left a vehicle – left money in the rainy day account – to be able to have that happen. And we talked about doing it, but it was so late into the administration other than just laying out the groundwork and leaving those tools available, that was the best we could do. We could have renegotiated the liquor contract earlier.”

[Related: 9 things Democrats want more than paying hospitals…]

A spokesman from the Governor’s Office said Baldacci’s comments were simply not true.

LePage intends to respond to Baldacci’s accusations against the MPBP ads and the potential 2014 gubernatorial contender’s new narrative of events.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Baldacci had his chance with the liquor contract and his ill conceived decision cost the Maine taxpayers up to $275 million. Baldacci was more interested in giving sweetheart deals to his friends at Maine Beverage than maximizing revenue so we can better fund education, transportation, revenue sharing, etc. Had Baldacci done his job, there would be no hospital debt and the extra liquor revenue surpluses could have gone to our schools, revenue sharing, or our roads. http://www.portlandphoenix.com/features/this_just_in/documents/05011028.asp

  2. The state had a hundred million dollar business in the palm of its hand, and let it go. New Hampshire knows how to run a liquor business, and Maine continues behind the eight ball. Governor LePage is trying to make the best of what’s left. How about hearing the truth from the former politicians, rather than trying to cover their butts.

  3. This is a golden opportunity to beat this drum into the minds of the low information democrats that are obviously indoctrinated with years of “half-truths” and “misstatements”!
    Even some democrats are jumping off the sinking ship although many are Kool-Aid addicts of lies, “half-truths” and “misstatements”! , the truth will set you free.

  4. Governor Baldacci had eight years, during which he repeatedly REFUSED to pay the hospitals, over and over, opting to pour state funds into ill conceived, foolish, unnecessary programs, and then spent money to produce shiny, bright lie filled literature which told everyone how he had balanced the budget without raising taxes. If he had taken care of business when he was governor, the current administration would not be trying to clean up his mess.

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