$40 Million to be eliminated from state tax credits, deductions and exemptions

GrowSmart Maine is monitoring the work of the Tax Expenditure Review Task Force, created in the 2014 Biennial Budget, which is directed to identify $40 million in reductions from the billions of dollars in tax expenditures granted each year by the state of Maine to businesses, non-profits and individuals.  Tax expenditures include deductions, credits and exemptions from state tax.  Though most relate to income tax, there are a few related to property and use taxes.

We will provide information related to the expenditures that impact our mission to ensure the task force can consider all perspectives as they take on this weighty task.  The task force will report to the Legislative Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs on Dec. 4th.

At the initial meeting, held Sept. 16th, members were provided with copies of “The Red Book”, the Maine State Tax Expenditure Report 2014-15 (Maine Revenue Services publication).   
Beth Ashcroft, Director of the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) also presented an overview of initial work done to analyze and further categorize the tax expenditures for better utility and interpretation by the task force.  This analysis, in both spreadsheet and PDF files, may be helpful to those who enjoy studying the details.

Additional meetings, which are open to the public and broadcast over the Legislative system are set for:  
Sept 30th, when the Pew Center on the States will make a presentation to the task force, based on their recent report, “Avoiding Blank Checks, Creating Fiscally Sound State Tax Incentives”.  As described on their website, “Reliable cost estimates and annual cost controls for tax incentives have helped states promote job creation and economic growth while avoiding unexpected budget challenges. But Pew’s analysis shows that policy makers often create tax credits, deductions, and exemptions without these tools, raising the risk of budget shortfalls and unplanned spending cuts or tax increases to close them.”   
Oct 21st: with a public hearing planned for the morning and task force work in the afternoon  
Nov 4th, Nov 18th, Dec 2nd.

Task Force members:  
Allen, Michael – Commissioner's designee, DAFS    
Goode, Adam (Chair) – House Appointment
Marean, Donald – House Appointment
Lawton, Charles – Representing economists, tax experts or business sector
Lee, Catherine – Representing a business enterprise.   
Martin, Garrett – Representing economists, tax experts or business sector
Miller, Elizabeth – Public Member
Haskell, Anne (Chair) – Senate Appointment
Katz, Roger – Senate Appointment
Barter, Merrill – Representing economists, tax experts or business sector
Baur, Geoff – Representing economists, tax experts or business sector
Durgin, Nelson – Person with expertise in state budget process
Low, Ryan – Person with expertise in state budget process