Successes + What's Next
My husband is a veteran and my grandfather was as well. In honor of Memorial Day, I’d like to join many others in taking the opportunity to remember those who lost their lives serving our country. The City of Bath, where I live, always holds a moving ceremony. Rep. Jennifer DeChant gave a poignant speech after wreaths were laid. She mentioned The Summit Project in her speech. Check out this organization that benefits veterans here in Maine.
Memorial Day weekend is often the last chance legislators have to rest and spend family time before starting double legislative sessions (morning and afternoon). Legislative staff have been forewarned that double sessions will start this week.
Eyes are still on the budget discussions, which are very hard to follow as they happen behind closed doors. Votes do occur in public. Stress will continue to rise as pressure builds to come to agreement prior to the end of the fiscal year, June 30.
MANP enjoyed some recent success. The highlight of last week was the strong bipartisan defeat of LD 727 (see below) in both the House and Senate. This week is starting out strong with a House vote against the Governor’s anti nonprofit tax bill, LD 1521, 85-56.
- LD 1521, An Act to Amend the Property Tax Laws (Hilliard)(Governor’s bill)(eliminates property tax exemption for land trusts and creates a so called “service charge” on nonprofits with assessed value over $10 million) (MANP opposes).
- Defeated in the House 85-56.
- LD 727, An Act to Protect the Tax Base of Municipalities by Removing the Property Tax Exemption for Land Held for Conservation or Public Access Purposes (Stetkis) (removes exemption for land trusts)(MANP opposes) ONTP-OTP (8-4)
- Dead. Defeated in the House by a vote of 96-48 and in the Senate 35-0. Kudos to Rep.s Corey, Duschense, Rykerson and Skolfield who spoke against the bill on the floor. I note that Rep.s Pouliot, Ward and Hilliard reversed their committee vote in support of the bill and voted against it on the floor.
- Action: Contact your legislators if they voted against LD 727 and LD 1521 and thank them. All senators voted against LD 727 and the House roll call is here. The House roll call for LD 1521 is here.
- LD 648, An Act to Expand the Types of Nonprofit Organizations to Which Surplus Property May Be Sold by the State (Grant) (allows nonprofits to purchase surplus property from the state prior to auction)(MANP supports).
- Enacted by the House but was put on the Appropriations Table, which is where bills go just prior to enactment in the Senate if they have a fiscal note.
- This bill has a very minor fiscal note. The State and Local Government Committee senate chair, Sen. Paul Davis, has arranged for the minor cost to be absorbed and the bill should go through.
- It’s unclear whether the Governor will veto the bill or not.
Voluntary Payments in Lieu of Taxes
- LD 1289, An Act to Provide Payments in Lieu of Taxes in the Unorganized Territory (Dill) (creates a mechanism for the state to receive voluntary payments in lieu of taxes in the unorganized part of the state)(MANP supports).
- The bill is making its way through the process having been engrossed by both the House and Senate.
- LD 1435, An Act to Ensure the Transparency in the Distribution of Federal Block Grants (Jorgensen)(increases transparency in the distribution of federal block grants)(MANP supports)
- Carry over to next session.
- LD 967, An Act to Ensure Access to Community Services for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism (Herbig)(increases reimbursement rates)(MANP supports).
- The Health and Human Services Committee voted on LD 967.
- It’s a 7-6 divided report.
- It’s a battle of the amendments with both reports being OTPA.
- We’re offering a free (for members) webinar on the amendment together with our national counterparts, the National Council of Nonprofits, on Friday, June 9 at 10 a.m. Register!
- The Council’s community sign on letter is open to new signatories again. To sign on and to learn more, go here. There’s strong interest in significantly increasing the number of signatories because there’s still energy in Congress around repealing the amendment. It’s possible that this could be wrapped up into the budget negotiations.
- For those in the greater Portland area, the Greater Portland Council of Governments is seeking input through a transit survey. More information can be found here.
- The Senate will likely take up LD 1521: An Act To Amend the Property Tax Laws.
- ONTP = Ought Not to Pass
- OTPA = Ought to Pass As Amended
- OTP= Ought to Pass