This Week in Augusta – 02.09.2017 edition

Date: February 09, 2017

SESSION

Tuesday – Senate & House, 10 a.m.

Tuesday – Joint Session (Governor’s State of the State), 6:30 p.m.

Thursday – Senate & House, 10 a.m.

http://legislature.maine.gov/

 

LEGISLATION

LD 333 – LD 464 printed

New titles of interest include:

  • Eliminate the 3% income tax surcharge (LD 337)
  • Develop long-range strategic plan for economic improvement (LD 367)
  • Establish universal health care for Maine (LD 386)
  • State Budget for fiscal years 2018 & 2019 (LD 390)
  • Establish Maine Buy Local month (LD 402)
  • Strengthen Maine’s transportation infrastructure (LD 437)
  • Encourage consumers to comparison-shop for certain health care procedures (LD 445)

 

STATE OF THE STATE

Governor LePage is scheduled to speak to a joint session of the Senate and House on the evening of February 7. Topics are likely to include the 3% surtax, minimum wage law, energy costs for large businesses, tax reform, and state spending on education.

 

MOST STATE SPENDING IN A FEW AREAS

More than $9 out of $10 in General Fund spending goes to 10 agencies. The remaining 58 agencies account for less than 70 cents for every $10 dollars in spending, according to the “Governor’s Budget Overview” document that is posted on the Bureau of the Budget website.

 

                                                          Biennium                          Biennium

                                                          2016-2017                        2018-2019

General Fund – Total                    $6,732,165,018               $6,841,722,477

 

Dept. Education                             2,357,620,425                2,435,153,870

Dept. Health/Human Services    2,341,371,419                2,238,671,530

Higher Education (UMS,

MCCS, MMA)                                      548,016,646                     570,842,559

Dept. Corrections                              356,427,088                     355,044,918

Dept. Finance/Admin.                      287,007,158                     253,582,966

State Treasurer Office                       163,498,623                     221,382,974

Judicial Dept.                                       137,550,799                     153,155,998

Dept. Public Safety                             89,641,116                     141,686,252

 

BUDGET HEARINGS ON TAX ISSUES

Public hearings commence next week on the proposed 2018-2019 biennial State Budget. Key provisions and timing include:

Feb. 7, 1 p.m.

  • Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement (BETR) elimination in 2018, transition of eligible property to the Business Equipment Tax Exemption (BETE) program, and phase out by 2027 of property at a retail sales facility and used primarily in retail sales activity
  • Retail sales facility property elimination from either BETR or BETE for property placed into service on or after April 1, 2018

Feb. 10, 10 a.m.

  • Corporate income tax reduction to 8.33% from 8.93%
  • Individual income tax three-year phase in of a single-bracket and 5.75% flat rate
  • Sales tax base expansion to include 5.5% tax on various services (recreation & amusement; personal; domestic & household; personal property except those sold to a business for business use; installation, repair & maintenance except those sold to a business for business use)
  • Estate (death) tax elimination for residents dying in 2018

The hearings will be held by the Appropriations Committee jointly with the Taxation Committee.

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