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LePage distributes report on proposal to tax land trusts, nonprofits

In the report, LePage again suggests most non-profits should pay property taxes on 50 percent of their assessed value.

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Governor Paul LePage followed through on a pledge Thursday that he made in his State of the State address earlier in the week, delivering a report on property taxes to lawmakers that he says will lessen the burden on families and homeowners.

In the report, LePage again suggests most non-profits pay property taxes on 50 percent of their assessed value.

The governor said his administration has been fighting for this shift, claiming property tax exemptions in cities and towns total more than $18 billion, and that land trusts control thousands of acres worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

His handout projects cities like Brunswick, for example, could see an additional $5.5 million in revenue by taxing these entities.

"It's time for all land and real estate owners to take the burden off homeowners and pay taxes or a fee in lieu of taxes," said LePage in his address on Tuesday night.

Some of the organizations affected would include charitable institutions, veterans groups, chambers of commerce, and hospitals, while houses of worship would continue to be exempt.

Jenn Burns Gray of the Maine Association of Nonprofits said it's the wrong solution and would hurt local communities.

"The proposal, if it were enacted, would have a dramatic impact on our members and the ability of service work that they do," she said.

A bill that would have taxed conservation and public access lands was proposed last spring, but died in committee.

According to the Maine Land Trust Network, more than 98 percent of all land trust conserved lands in Maine are already on the tax roll or make payments in lieu of taxes.

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