AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage issued three more vetoes today, rejecting two bills that extended tax breaks to commercial foresters and nonprofit performing-arts organizations, and one that was aimed at improving the energy efficiency of state buildings.

The bills are L.D. 1264, sponsored by Sen. Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham; L.D. 338 sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash; and L.D. 205, sponsored by Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick.

They will appear on the Senate calendar for reconsideration next week. It takes a two-thirds vote to override a veto. Last session, lawmakers sustained all of LePage’s 12 vetoes.

In his veto message, LePage said the sales-tax exemption for performing-arts organizations do not meet his definition of a necessity.

“Performing-arts organizations are important to the cultural fabric of Maine,” he wrote. “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.”

On the energy efficiency bill, LePage wrote that the bill gives Efficiency Maine the power to craft rules without oversight by elected officials.

In response, Bartlett, who sponsored the bill, released a statement saying that the bill would have saved taxpayer dollars.

“It is disappointing that the Governor is shutting the door on options that would have saved taxpayer money,” Bartlett said. “This proposal was seen as a way to encourage efficiency, reign in energy costs and be prudent with tax dollars.”


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