We are fortunate that the economies statewide and nationally are growing at a very strong rate.

However, both the state of Maine and the federal government are faced with the same problem as we begin the New Year, and that is how we control spending. The state must come to grips with how to pay for the increase in Medicaid, which was approved by referendum. Unfortunately, when this was approved, the referendum neglected to determine how it was to be funded.

The estimate by DHHS is that the cost to Maine taxpayers for next year will be $63 million, $82 million in the year following, then $97 million, and after that $100 million per year.

Federal dollar support does not by any means offset the cost of Medicaid expansion. It must be remembered that the state owed our hospitals approximately $500 million when Governor LePage came into office, and only through careful restraints, was that financial burden paid off.

The spenders in the Legislature, the Democrats, want to raise taxes.

Without question, able-bodied single individuals without dependents should not be permitted to be eligible for Medicaid, but this is a hassle waiting to happen. I trust the citizens of Maine will come to understand that there is not a money tree waiting to be plucked. If they do not, the unassuming will be the targets instead.

By Jan. 19, the continuing resolution in regard to funding the federal budget runs out. This situation is an even larger one than the state faces.

Perhaps with the rush of shopping and festive occasions, a major portion of the electorate has not been watching the dire reports coming from the Department of Defense in regards to the poor state of the readiness of our military. The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corp have almost 50 percent of their aircraft unable to be utilized due to lack of parts and repair. This means that both fighters and bombers are seriously compromised.

Needless to say, with the looming problem with North Korea; unsettling conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran; Syria; Ukraine; and the turmoil in Venezuela are all areas that require our state of combat readiness to be significantly improved.

However, the Democrats intend to push for more spending for domestic affairs before they will support the defense buildup. Immigration and welfare spending will be major areas that will require prudence, if we are to maintain any sense of fiscal responsibility. It is unlikely the left-of-center will agree that the tax cuts will significantly be offset by robust increases in the economy. I believe this will occur, but a steady hand must still be exerted in regards by both sides on all spending.

It is surprising to me that the Democrats are in such a dither about the possibility of an increase of one and a half trillion dollars in the national debt over ten years, when you consider that the Obama administration increased the national debt almost ten trillion dollars in eight years.

The big spending area that must be taken under control is entitlements, particularly Social Security. However, this hot button issue will not be addressed until after the 2018 midterm elections. Hopefully, the age limits to receive Social Security will increase very soon to 70 to bring this under control.

I believe with a business-oriented administration instead of a bunch of free-spending politicians in charge, the outlook to take charge of this massive and bloated problem will be on its way to a sensible solution.