Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 11, 2013, 5:45pm

AUGUSTA, Maine (Legal Newsline) -- Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has signed off on a plan to pay back the state's more than $480 million hospital debt by restructuring the state's liquor contract.

The Bangor Daily News reported this week that Mills said Gov. Paul LePage's proposal could meet constitutional muster in court.

The governor's bill, Legislative Document 239 or an Act to Improve the Return to the State on the Sale of Spirits and to Provide a Source of Payment for Maine's Hospitals, lays out a detailed plan to repay $484 million to 39 hospitals for the debt owed to them since 2009.

The governor's proposal would restructure the state's liquor contract, recapturing millions of dollars that now flow to an out-of-state company.

Under LePage's plan, the hospitals could be paid by June 1.

In addition, the governor's plan would advance $105 million in bonds, releasing funding for a variety of projects across Maine.

His plan also would inject nearly $700 million into Maine's economy, creating health care and construction jobs, investing millions to pay for clean water and transportation projects and setting aside money for the state's depleted rainy day fund.

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