February 11, 2013

Expect jostling over who pays the bill

From staff reports

(Continued from page 1)

Today's poll: Local tax

Should the Legislature give Maine cities the authority to impose a local tax?

Yes

No

View Results

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Members of the 124th Legislature introduced 16 such proposals. There were nearly a half-dozen during the Republican-led 125th Legislature. There are four proposals for the current Legislature.

State-led efforts to increase municipal services consolidation have been fewer, but met similar fates.

A proposal by former Cornville lawmaker Peter Mills, a Republican, would have created incentives for towns to find additional ways to share services. That bill, L.D. 1220, was introduced during the 124th Legislature. It was unanimously rejected in committee and died before ever seeing a vote by the full Legislature.

Baldacci also championed a grant program to encourage consolidation. In 2008, the program gave Lewiston and Auburn more than $500,000 to assist in what was considered a ground-breaking consolidation effort.

After three years of work and a plan that was lauded by local leaders, the L-A consolidation fizzled when the two cities disbanded the consolidation commission.

'VAGUE' ON TAXES

Democratic leadership has not said whether it will seek to roll back or suspend implementation of the tax cut package that was passed in 2011. They're facing increasing pressure to take a stand on the issue now that major savings initiatives in LePage's budget are considered widely unpopular.

Last week, Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, was pressed on whether raising taxes would be part of the Democrats' budget solution.

"You're right, we are being vague," Alfond said. "We have a supplemental budget that we have to complete this week. We have to vote it out and we'll have many, many months to talk about the tough cuts, finding efficiencies, a fair tax system, so more to come on that."

GOVERNOR WOWS 'EM

LePage tossed out a few zingers during his State of the State address. A sampling:

"Tonight, I am here to update you, the people of Maine, on the condition of our great state. Everything is fine. Thank you for coming. Good night."

"That's why I'm angry: education, domestic violence, energy. But I'm doing better. I'm working on it."

"Wow, that's a familiar number for me, 39 percent." (After citing statistics that only 39 percent of eighth-graders read to proficiency standards. It's a bit of an inside joke, but it's the same percentage of the vote that LePage won in 2010.)

-- State House Bureau reporters Steve Mistler and Michael Shepherd compiled this report.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

twitter/stevemistler

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at:

mshepher@mainetoday.com

twitter/mikeshepherdme

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Today's poll: Local tax

Should the Legislature give Maine cities the authority to impose a local tax?

Yes

No

View Results