Legislative session characterized by numerous anti-business bills in Tax committee
In the area of taxation policy, the 130th Maine Legislature will be known for many things, and perhaps submitting a record number of anti-business bills will be one of them. There were bills targeting Maine’s water industry and proposals to increase income tax rates, to tax more of Mainers’ estates, to impose local option taxes, and to tax Mainers’ camps, to name a few. While the past two years of the 130th Legislature have not been easy, the business community once again emerged from this session almost unscathed in taxation. LD 1129, the so-called “dark stores” bill, was the only anti-business bill to be passed along mostly party lines, with Democrats supporting and Republicans opposing but without the Governor’s signature. The bill will prohibit assessors from considering deed restrictions, encumbrances, zoning restrictions, and other issues when valuing property with no such restrictions. The business community will no doubt challenge this issue next time around and submit a bill to reverse it.
In addition, many contentious perennial issues, such as “tax havens” and the “water tax” bills, were turned into resolves to further study the issues. The Taxation committee also reviewed many tax expenditure reports from the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA), which the Maine State Chamber monitored, as well as numerous department bills and concept drafts. One positive bill emerged that will no doubt attract a new industry to the state – LD 2030, An Act Regarding Taxation of Energy Storage Facilities and Equipment. Sponsored by Rep. Maureen Terry (D-Gorham), this new law will provide a sales tax reimbursement for qualified energy storage facilities.
Overall, given the progressive nature of the Legislature’s majority in the legislature, Maine’s business community could have fared much worse. Senior Governmental Relations Specialist Linda Capara would like to personally thank Governor Janet Mills, Rep. Bruce Bickford (R-Auburn), Sen. Bill Diamond (D-Cumberland), Sen. Jeff Timberlake (R-Androscoggin), and Rep. Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford) for their support this session. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Caprara by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 106, or by emailing email@example.com.
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