PORTLAND, Maine — A conservative think tank has released a report saying Maine is the most welfare-dependent state in the nation.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center says enrollment has grown by 70 percent since 2003, while its poverty level has remained stable.

The group issued its report on the same day the Maine Community Action Association and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center of the University of Maine held a press conference and released a study that highlights the widespread impact of the current economic recession on Maine.

The Heritage Policy Center says one in three Maine residents is on some form of welfare and the list includes programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps and the MaineCare health insurance program.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Brenda Harvey criticized the report as misleading and politically motivated during a gubernatorial campaign. She says the suggestion that the budget has grown exponentially under the Baldacci administration is incorrect. She says federal funding received by the department is up 28 percent since 2003.