By Ramona du Houx
April 5, 2013
Maine State Capitol. photo by Ramona du Houx
Fifty five towns across Maine have passed resolutions rejecting the extreme cuts and tax shifts proposed in Governor LePage’s two year budget. In just the last week, the towns of Gorham, Bar Harbor, Searsport and the city of Portland have passed resolutions urging lawmakers to consider other alternatives, including tax fairness, to increasing property taxes and cutting essential services.
“These cuts that the Governor has proposed are extreme and unfair,” said Bar Harbor town councilor Gary Friedmann. “Our town council unanimously passed this resolution as a message to our legislature to reject these regressive property tax increases and instead consider more equitable ways of balancing the state budget.”
Bangor would lose $11 million over the two year proposed budget.
Governor LePage’s two-year budget includes cuts to education and healthcare, in addition to ending $400 million in revenue sharing to Maine’s towns. This means Maine’s towns would have to either cut services and/or raise property taxes to make up for the lost state revenue caused by this cost shift. At the same time property tax relief will be abolished, except for the elderly. Under LePage’s plan communities are being forced to fill the gap caused by tax cuts largely for the wealthy that were passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011.
An analysis conducted by the Maine Municipal Association finds that the town of Gorham alone is set to lose over $1.5 million from their budget if revenue sharing is ended.