AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Maine’s Democratic-led Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would prevent $40 million in cuts to revenue sharing next year.
Supporters of the revenue sharing bill given a 33-2 vote Tuesday say it’s necessary to prevent property tax hikes. They say towns that are planning their budgets now need to know how much money they’re getting from the state.
Some Republicans say Democrats are moving forward with the bill too quickly and should wait until the state gets more information about incoming revenues.
“While $59.7 million may sound like a lot of money, it is a minimal reserve for a state that spends more than $3 billion annually. As it stands currently, the State of Maine could operate for less than a week with the current balance of the budget stabilization fund. To propose removing one third of that balance is both shortsighted and detrimental to the State of Maine. It would leave only enough revenue to fund state operations for less than three days,” warned Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett.
The measure faces further votes in the House and Senate before being sent to Governor LePage.
Maine Municipal Association says cities and towns will only receive about $20 million next year if these cuts go through, which would cause property taxes to skyrocket.