posted on May 29, 2015 14:34
by Tom Doak
Hearings on all bills have been completed, and individual legislative committees are wrapping up their work on bills and sending them to the full Legislature for debate and final action – up or down. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on or before June 17, though it remains to be seen if that actually happens.
We have spent a great deal of time protecting the Tree Growth Tax Law program. As I reported in previous Maine Woodland Owners newsletters, the Governor’s original budget proposal included a substantial rewrite of the law, none of which was good for woodland owners. While items in the budget are under the purview of the Appropriations Committee, that proposal was referred to the Taxation and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committees for comment. Those two committees voted unanimously to oppose the changes, and that opposition would likely result in the proposal being defeated.
As I mentioned last month, we expected the administration would follow up with another idea. In the Governor’s change package to the original budget that was released in early May, Tree Growth was again a target. This new proposal, with a few changes, was essentially identical to the original proposal. Again, both the Taxation and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committees rejected changes. So, while final action depends upon the Appropriations Committee, changes to the Tree Growth Tax Law in this legislative session appear very unlikely.