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Portland Cuts Budget as Showdown Looms with LePage

PORTLAND, Maine - The city of Portland has advised departments to prepare for spending cuts because of uncertainty during a legal fight with the state over benefits provided to immigrants.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services in June prohibited cities from providing general assistance benefits to immigrants who can't prove they're legal U.S. residents. The administration has threatened to withhold all general assistance reimbursements to communities that fail to comply.

Portland and Westbrook responded by suing the state.

Jessica Grondin, spokeswoman for the city of Portland, said Wednesday the city's request for reimbursement in September has gone unanswered and that cost controls are being put into place.

What happens next is unclear. Democratic Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has said Republican Gov. Paul LePage's directive oversteps his authority.