By Ramona du Houx
The overall outcome of Governor LePage’s tax portion of his proposed two-year state budget, if passed as it is, would place an unfair burden on the middle class, while the top 2 percent of wealthy Maine taxpayers would see a dramatic tax cut. At the same time towns accross Maine will most likely have to increase property taxes to make up for the state cutting off revenue sharing. Small towns don't have large non-profits to levy a property tax on, as LePage wants, so they most likely will be forced to cut services or increase property taxes.
The centerpiece ofs his so called "tax reform" proposal includes:
•Eliminating municipal revenue sharing- (no more funding from the state to towns)
•Doubling the Homestead property tax exemption for homeowners at least 65 years of age
•But eliminating the Homestead property tax exemption for all other homeowners
•Imposing a property tax on non-profit institutions over $500,000 in value
•Transferring two-way telecommunications property from state to municipal taxing jurisdiction
•Shifting all taxable property in the BETR program to tax exempt status in the BETE program
•Reducing personal and corporate income tax rates and phasing out the estate tax
•Expanding the state’s sales tax base to include a wide ranges of services
•Increasing the general sales tax rate to 6.5 percent
The Appropriations Committee has scheduled the public hearings on many of the municipally-related taxation-related proposals for next week.
The proposal to eliminate municipal revenue sharing is scheduled for public hearing on Wednesday next week (February 18th). The public hearings on the proposals related to the homestead property tax exemption, taxing exempt institutions, the BETR-to-BETE conversion, and the tax jurisdiction of telecommunications property are scheduled for Thursday next week (February 19th).
Municipal officials are urged to attend these public hearings for the purpose of providing information to our lawmakers about the impacts of the Governor’s proposals on your community.