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What We're Watching at the State House

by Jennifer Hutchins

MANP has been closely watching happenings at the State House (there sure were some impressive happenings this weekend!). Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of what we’re monitoring.

The Governor’s Budget

Lawmakers are likely to make substantial changes to the Governor’s proposed budget and we will be paying special attention to their consideration of his attempts to give cities and towns the option to charge large nonprofits fees in place of property taxes from which they are currently exempt, and to eliminate exemptions for land trusts. MANP has long opposed any mandatory Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTS) in recognition of the fact that a required payment is in practice a tax. The reality is that many large nonprofits already voluntarily negotiate PILOTs with municipalities. Read more about MANP’s work related to protecting nonprofit property tax exemption.

Legislators have until June 30 to negotiate a final budget.

Legislation of Interest

While so far our Advocacy Committee has not flagged any proposed legislation for MANP action, we are keeping an eye on several bills. (Note: if you expect to testify this session, or mobilize others to do so, don’t miss tomorrow’s webinar on Presenting Testimony: How to Make it Compelling + Effective!)

LD 16: An Act To Exempt Certain Individuals Who Are 70 Years of Age or Older from Maine Income Tax   Web Link to LD 16

This bill provides a 100% income tax exemption for a retired individual who is 70 years of age or older.

Presented by Representative Foley of Wells. Cosponsored by Senator Collins of York and Representative Higgins of Dover-Foxcroft, Representatives Marean of Hollis, Mastraccio of Sanford, Picchiotti of Fairfield, Stewart of Presque Isle, Tuell of East Machias, Vachon of Scarborough, White of Washburn.

LD 79: An Act To Provide a Sales Tax Exemption for Career and Technical Student Organizations   Web Link to LD 79

This bill provides a sales tax exemption to nonprofit career and technical education student organizations recognized by the Department of Education.

Presented by Senator Langley of Hancock. Cosponsored by Representative Pouliot of Augusta and Senators Collins of York, Davis of Piscataquis, Dow of Lincoln, Whittemore of Somerset.

LD 112: An Act To Further Limit the Liability of Landowners Who Permit the Use of Land for Outdoor Recreational Activity   Web Link to LD 112

Current law limits the liability of landowners who allow certain outdoor recreational or harvesting activities on their land, as long as the land is not primarily used for commercial recreational purposes. This bill extends that limited liability to landowners who allow their land to be used for the construction, maintenance or expansion of trails or ancillary facilities used to pursue outdoor recreational activities.

Presented by Representative Ginzler of Bridgton. Cosponsored by Senator Hamper of Oxford and Representative Fay of Raymond

LD 117: An Act To Strengthen the Farm and Open Space Tax Law   Web Link to LD 117

This bill provides that a landowner with acreage classified under the farm and open space tax law who wishes to add contiguous acreage to a previously classified acreage must demonstrate to the assessor that the additional acreage separately meets the definition of “farmland” that is eligible for classification.

Presented by Representative Alley of Beals. Cosponsored by Senator Maker of Washington and Representative Ackley of Monmouth, Representatives Battle of South Portland, Devin of Newcastle, Hickman of Winthrop

We’re Here for You!

MANP is here to be a resource for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about the legislative process and how nonprofits can legally and effectively influence public policy.

We’ll be shining a spotlight on the work of nonprofits during Nonprofit Week, Feb 6-10, elevating awareness of the incredible impact nonprofits have on Maine’s economy and quality of life. Now is the time for policymakers to understand that nonprofits are essential partners in Maine’s present and future and we’ll be shouting that to the rooftops! We hope you’ll join us.

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