AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday used his authority to veto a trio of Democratic-sponsored bills that passed during the Legislature’s first session last year.
The bills were:
• LD 1264, an energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham.
• LD 338, sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, which sought to create an income tax credit for logging companies that hire Maine residents.
• LD 205, a bill that exempted nonprofit performing arts organizations from sales taxes, sponsored by Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick.
In his veto letter to lawmakers, LePage urged the Legislature to uphold all three.
“Performing-arts organizations are important to the cultural fabric of Maine,” he wrote about LD 205. “However, simply because something is worthwhile and good does not mean it should enjoy tax free status. Exemptions from the sales tax should be saved for the necessities of life — food, shelter, medicine — as well as for important initiatives meant to foster growth and create good paying jobs in Maine industries, increasing our overall tax base.”
LePage and Jackson have been bickering back and forth for months about logging issues.
On the energy efficiency bill, the governor wrote that the bill gives Efficiency Maine the power to craft rules without any oversight.
Bartlett said his bill would have saved Maine taxpayers’ money.
“It is disappointing that the governor is shutting the door on options that would have saved taxpayer money,” he said. “This proposal was seen as a way to encourage efficiency, rein in energy costs and be prudent with tax dollars.”
Before the end of the last session, the governor had vetoed 12 bills, all of which were upheld by the Legislature. For a veto to be overridden, it needs a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate.
The recently vetoed bills will appear on the Senate calendar for reconsideration next week.