AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A group of Maine mayors and the Maine Education Association are calling on the Legislature to drop millions of dollars in tax breaks - saying local budgets and property taxes will suffer if the tax breaks remain.
A special Legislative task force is currently evaluating tax breaks, to decide what ones to eliminate. The state budget that was passed in June requires $40 million in tax breaks or loopholes to be dropped. But the mayors and the union leaders say they're worried the Legislature won't be able to agree on the full amount of tax breaks to cut, and that lawmakers will then resort to more revenue sharing cuts to keep the budget balanced. The mayors and the teachers' union hey say more reductions to revenue sharing will forces cuts in local services and increases in local property taxes.
Many tax breaks were created to help businesses, such as the BETR tax reimbursement program. But Sanford Mayor Maura Herlihy says portions of that program provide tax breaks for large retail stores, which she believes are not needed. Herlihy says she does support continuing those tax breaks for manufacturers.
The Legislature's task force is supposed to make recommendations to the full Legislature by the end of the year.