Nobody dies

By AL DIAMON  |  December 30, 2009

Among the other survivors of this round of reductions was a state agency that had predicted it could not possibly survive another round of reductions. Maine Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Brenda Harvey warned the Appropriations Committee in September that, "we are at the core of our operations," and before further reductions could be made, legislators and the governor would have to decide "what services we are no longer going to offer."

The Baldacci budget reduced DHHS spending by almost $68 million, but didn't actually get rid of anything.

"Rather than wholesale elimination of programs," Harvey announced on December 18, "we have made reductions in the quantity of service and reimbursement rates."

Please ignore her earlier statement about that being impossible.

Like the economic development drones, much of the human services bureaucracy could be eliminated without noticeable impact on humans or services. The department already has a computer to mess up Medicaid. Keeping people around to add to the confusion seems redundant.

Likewise, the Department of Education could shed the $100 million it spends on administrators who have absolutely nothing to do with teaching anybody anything. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife could manage without everybody who doesn't have clothing smeared with fish scales or bear entrails. And the state court system could streamline operations by merging the District and Superior courts, thereby requiring any judge to hear any case.

That would get us closer to funding just the essentials.

Although, I don't see any money in there for beer.

My caller ID still works, so if you want to reach me, you'll have to e-mail aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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