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Conservationists criticize LePage’s push to tax land trusts

February 20, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Conservation advocates in Maine say Gov. Paul LePage is using misleading information in his push to tax land trusts.

The Portland Press Herald reports LePage renewed his effort to tax land trusts during his State of the State address Tuesday. The Republican says nonprofits should contribute to help local tax bases.

LePage has tried unsuccessfully for years to change state policy to allow municipalities to tax land trusts, private colleges, hospitals and other tax exempt properties. LePage says Maine has $18.3 billion in tax-exempt land.

Conservationists say LePage failed to explain that the state, federal government and municipalities own about $11.8 billion worth of Maine’s tax-exempt property. The Maine Land Trust Network says many properties already pay fees or contribute payments in lieu of taxes.

The Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee plans to release a report on the issue.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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