AFA Update: Thursday, February 19, 2015- Property Tax impacts and the Non-profit tax, Also new GPA numbers

Public hearings on the taxation portions of the Governor’s proposed biennial budget continued today with testimony on the elimination if the Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement (BETR) program and its collapse into the Business Equipment Tax Exemption (BETE)program, the transfer of the Telecommunication’s property tax to municipalities in the morning and various changes to property taxes including the elimination of the Homestead exemption for those under 65 years of age and the establishment of a property tax on non-profits,

Audio of today’s hearing is here.

New State Education subsidy reports

The Department of Education released the General Purpose Aid to Education (GPA) printouts for your school districts upcoming year today. The figures are based on the acceptance of the proposals in the Governor’s biennial budget and supplemental budgets.  See how your school fares here:

www.maine.gov/doe/eps/

Further testimony

Here is further testimony from yesterday’s hearing on Revenue Sharing.

Public Testimony 3

Public testimony 4

BETR/BETE and Telecoms tax

Commissioner Rosen’s testimony in support of the Governor’s initiatives regarding BETR/BETE and was met by opposition from businesses and municipalities alike:

Public testimony 1

Public Testimony 2

Towns raised a significant concern that exempting property from taxation will have unforeseen impacts on town valuations causing shifts in the distribution of such funds as State aid to education.

Homestead Exemption and Non-profit tax

Commissioner Rosen presented his testimony in favor of the Governor’s proposals to make several changes to property tax programs. Significantly, the elimination of the Homestead Exemption for those under 65 years of age and the imposition of a municipal property tax on non-profits.

Members of the public presented nearly unanimous opposition to the Governor’s proposals citing that Increased property taxes and diminished municipal services would result from the governor’s proposed $6.5 billion budget. A key component of his budget is the elimination of the revenue sharing funds that local communities rely on to pay for vital services like schools, firefighting road maintenance and snow plowing, all while keeping property taxes in check for residents and small businesses.

The LePage administration contends that local communities can make up for some of that lost revenue by making certain large non-profit organizations pay property taxes. But of Maine’s fewer than 500 municipalities, more than 400 would not be able to take advantage of this provision in the governor’s budget, according to an estimate from the Maine Municipal Association.

Public testimony 1

Public testimony 2

Schedule

Hearings on the sales and use and service provider tax portions of the Governor’s budget resume Monday morning at 10:00AM.

The full schedule is available here.

You may listen to the hearing here or join us in Room 228.

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