As a representative in the Maine Legislature, my responsibility is to support hardworking residents and small business owners in our state. In light of that responsibility, I voted for the $40 million revenue sharing bill that preserves state funding for Maine’s towns.
The revenue sharing bill received overwhelming bipartisan support from the Legislature. The majority of legislators understands that municipal revenue sharing sustains important services such as firefighting, snow plowing, road maintenance and public safety efforts. Moreover, concern about local property taxes is foremost in the minds of our constituents. After all, local taxpayers have faced steady increases to property taxes as state funding has decreased.
Over the past six years, for example, state funding in Fairfield has fallen to half of what it was six years ago. In response to decreases in state aid, Fairfield cut about 10 percent of town positions — two police officers, one firefighter and two administrative staff. Furthermore, our town already has entered into regional agreements for services such as rescue services, yet — in the words of our town manager, Josh Reny — “there is no service that could be regionalized that would offset the amount of revenue sharing the town of Fairfield is currently losing.” Maintaining revenue sharing will prevent further steep increases in local property taxes and avoid further cuts to municipal services.
Now that revenue sharing is in place for the next fiscal year, another piece of government action is needed to bolster Maine residents and economy: Maine’s governor needs to release bonds that will fund projects and economic activity in the state. Maine voters approved bonds to create jobs, stimulate the economy and support research and public higher education. The governor needs to honor the wishes of Maine voters.
Rep. Karen KusiakD-Fairfield