May 24, 2018
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Bangor area community leaders host two meetings next week about LePage’s proposed budget

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Area schools are hosting “An Evening for Leadership” Monday and representatives of eight communities, including Bangor and Brewer, are gathering Thursday for a discussion with legislators about drastic changes planned under the governor’s proposed budget.

The public is invited to attend both meetings.

Legislators, community and school leaders from Penobscot, Piscataquis and Hancock counties announced they are gathering to outline the effects Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed biennial budget would have on their towns.

“An Evening for Leadership,” is scheduled 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 4 at the Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center. It is being organized by the Penobscot River Educational Partnership and the municipalities.

At the municipality-hosted gathering, which is being held at the Brewer Auditorium starting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 7, community leaders from Bangor, Brewer, Bucksport, Hampden, Hermon, Millinocket, Old Town and Orono will be on hand to discuss what the governor’s proposed revenue cuts will mean to residents.

The community leaders have invited state Senators Doug Thomas, R-Somerset; Brian Langley, R-Hancock; Emily Cain, D-Penobscot; Edward Youngblood, R-Penobscot; Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Penobscot; and Andre Cushing III, R-Penobscot.

“Of specific concern to municipal officials is the proposal to eliminate Municipal Revenue Sharing, dramatically curtail the Homestead Exemption and Circuit Breaker programs, redirect Truck Excise revenue to the state, and eliminate the BETR program,” the announcement states. “Taken individually or collectively, these measures represent a dramatic shift in the tax burden from the state to municipalities, ultimately imperiling basic local services and property taxpayers.”

The statement ends by saying, “The magnitude of this shifting of responsibility is unlike anything we have seen in recent memory.”

BDN reporter Nick McCrea contributed to this story.

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