“I realized there was too much money being spent in the Senate president’s office, so I reduced spending on the staff budget by 20 percent right off the top.”

— Maine Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, in a 2nd U.S. Congressional District campaign video.

Raye, looking to remove U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud from office in November and framing himself as a fiscal hawk, is selling himself a tad short on this claim.

On Dec. 1, 2010, Raye was sworn in as Maine Senate president. Numbers provided by Joseph Carleton, the secretary of the Senate, show a staff budget of $376,875 in July 2010 in the office of former Senate President Libby Mitchell, a Vassalboro Democrat.

Raye’s annual staff budget as of Jan. 11, 2011 was $293,904. That’s a savings of more than 22 percent.

It was achieved by keeping five employees instead of six under Mitchell and lowering average wages among staff by nearly $4,000 per person.

An email from Mary Small, Raye’s chief of staff in the Senate, said there will be additional savings this year because Robert Caverly, a special assistant, is taking a four-month leave of absence.

Small wrote that aside from that, salaries have stayed the same. Caverly is working as Raye’s congressional campaign manager, according to a Raye campaign news release.

The office’s makeup will all but surely change more by next year, as Raye is termed out in the Senate and could be headed to Washington.

Republicans have a 19-15 edge over Democrats in the Senate, with one unenrolled member.

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