In his Jan. 21 column, “Letting municipalities tax nonprofits is a fair way to spread the burden,” Greg Kesich focused exclusively on Maine’s hospitals but neglected to reference the major impact that Gov. LePage’s budget proposal would have on other nonprofits.

In fact, while the governor uses the language “taxing large nonprofits,” his proposal to allow municipalities to tax nonprofits with property valued above $500,000 would also affect social service agencies, land trusts, educational institutions and organizations that provide healthy outlets for young people, to name just a few. If these organizations were forced to pay property taxes, the additional expenses would undoubtedly result in staffing cuts that would diminish services for vulnerable populations and reduce programs that Maine residents rely on and value.

In kicking off its 12th annual celebration of Nonprofit Week on Monday, the Maine Association of Nonprofits released its biennial economic and social impact report, “Adding Up Impact: Maine Nonprofits at Work,” offering an important backdrop from which to view the impacts of the governor’s budget proposal. Key findings include:

 Nonprofits contribute $10 billion yearly to Maine’s economy through wages paid, retail and wholesale purchases, and professional services contracts. This is 18.9 percent of Maine’s gross domestic product, more than the manufacturing and construction industries combined.

 Nonprofits employ over 84,000 Mainers, paying over $3.6 billion in wages.

 Those wages translate into an estimated $206 million of personal income tax revenue for Maine’s state and local governments and over $411 million in federal tax revenue.

So as we celebrate the work of Maine’s vibrant nonprofit sector, we urge the media, Legislature and the public to understand that the current budget proposal will affect significantly more nonprofits than just hospitals, while also negatively affecting services we value, and lessening state income tax revenue through diminished employment.

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