MSBA Legislative Update 06-05-09
TAX REFORM ENACTED
After trying for a number of years, Rep. John Piotti (D-Unity) has been able to see his proposed tax reform package enacted. On Friday, both the House and Senate voted to enact LD 1088. The bill proposes to reduce Maineís top income tax rates, broaden the sales tax base to a number of other types of services, amusements and recreations, and makes a number of other structural changes to Maineís tax laws. The bill is now sitting on the Governorís desk, waiting to see what action Governor Baldacci may take on the proposal. Because the bill proposes to increase a number of sales tax items, and subject new items to the sales tax, it is unclear what action the Governor may take on the bill.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY BILL PASSES HOUSE
The long-awaited energy efficiency bill (LD 1485) reported out of the Select Committee on Maineís Energy Future was overwhelmingly supported in the House by a vote of 137-0. The bill proposes to combine a number of various efficiency and conservation programs into a new Efficiency Trust, helps to coordinate the work force development activities currently undertaken by the Maine State Housing Authority, the Department of Labor, and the PUC, into a more cohesive delivery mechanism, increases available revenues for affordable housing, and places a moratorium on the permitting of certain energy facilities until a Legislative Study regarding energy corridor and facility siting may be completed by January 2010.
The bill now heads to the Senate who is expected to start its deliberations on Monday, and is also expected to pass the bill.
GREENHOUSE GAS/SITE LAW STILL PENDING
The House did not start its debate this week on LD 1333, the bill proposing to establish new review criteria under the DEPís Site Law to include greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, weatherization, and design and construction techniques. The House is expected to start its debate on Monday, and it promises to be a hotly debated bill before both the House and Senate.
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