First day of public hearings on the governor’s proposed biennial budget

The Appropriations committee, joined by the Taxation committee, opened public hearings on the governor’s biennial budget Governor LePage began his administration’s presentation with wide ranging testimony that frequently touched on initiatives before the committee in the budget.

Commissioner Rosen, elected officials and members of the public presented testimony. Commissioner Rosen presented the only testimony in support of the governor’s proposals, everyone else opposed the initiatives.

The Commissioner repeatedly referred to standalone legislation details of which are not available. In response to specific questions committee members were asked to view proposals in a complete picture including the proposals about which details are currently unavailable.

Items receiving the most attention were:

  • Restricting the Homestead property tax relief program to homeowner 65 years of age or older
  • Setting the percentage of sales and income tax distributed to municipalities through Revenue Sharing at 2% in perpetuity

Hearings continue Tuesday with further tax portions of the budget including:

  • Changes to BETR/BETE
  • Repeal of the state excise tax on telecommunications property to allow municipalities to levy property taxes on that equipment
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