April 9, 2013

Maine mayors press for $85 million bond

The leaders of 12 cities propose a major state investment in education, jobs, roads, rail and water.

By Keith Edwards kedwards@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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"Municipalities hope we can train workers who are displaced and receiving General Assistance," Casavant said. "So they receive skills that are in demand so they can find decent jobs and get off the General Assistance rolls."

Bennett cited Maine Department of Labor figures indicating private sector job growth in the last three years, resulting in an increase of about 6,000 jobs, as good news for Maine's economy.

At Monday's meeting of mayors, Harnett praised proposals from Katz and other legislators to restore state revenue sharing to municipalities, which would be eliminated by LePage's proposed state budget.

Harnett said losing revenue sharing would cost Gardiner, a city of about 6,000 people, $600,000 a year in revenue. It would shift a huge tax burden onto municipalities and property owners because municipalities will have to raise property taxes to make up for the loss, he said.

Katz, a Republican and a former mayor of Augusta, is the sponsor of L.D. 713, a bill that would restore revenue sharing to municipalities to this year's state budget. Over the next three years, the bill also would return the funding back to 5 percent of state tax revenue.

Katz said the state has raided revenue sharing funds and reduced what goes to municipalities to 3.6 percent of state tax revenues.

"It's so tempting in the Senate to pass our problems on to local property taxpayers, but that's the wrong choice," Katz said. "We've got to come up with other solutions. Everything is on the table at this point."

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:



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