Budget hearing draws hundreds to Brewer

7:44 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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BREWER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Many people were in Brewer Monday evening to voice their thoughts on the proposed budget governor LePage has put forth for the state of Maine. It includes a number of cutbacks for state programs as well as state revenue sharing for towns.

Lawmakers have been holding meetings on the proposed budget for the past two weeks in Augusta. This meeting was the first one they took up outside of the capital to hear people's views.

Many came out to protest points in the governor's proposal. The budget plan calls for stopping state revenue sharing with towns for the next two years. It also would make changes to state tax relief and rebate programs.

While the Maine Republican Party is not endorsing any part of the governor's budget, directors of the party say they won't support raising taxes to keep the status quo.

"The local levels {i.e. town governments} are the place where there are efficiencies and savings to be found," said Jason Savage, who is the executive director for the Maine Republican Party, "and its time to get serious about finding them."

Several area leaders who attended and spoke at Monday's hearing say that will be a difficult feat.

"Just when we thought there was nothing left to the proposal on the table is a $250,000 impact," remarked Jon Southern, who is the city manager of Eastport, "and with the loss of revenue sharing and homestead exemption and other cuts that are proposed....that's about a ten percent increase in tax bills without anything else in the budget changing."

The appropriations committee will be holding more meetings on the proposed budget this week in Augusta. Members are hoping to have it revised and back in the legislature's hands by early summer.


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