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Bill would direct more GPA to devalued mill towns

A bill that would adjust the property valuations for four towns affected by loss in value of their paper mills is working its way through the legislative process and could result in moving an estimated $2.8 million in General Purpose Aid to those communities.

While there has been discussion about finding that $2.8 million outside of current projections for GPA, it is not clear how that would be done.

The biggest receiver in the recalculation would be RSU 59 (Madison), which would receive an additional $1.2 million. RSU 54 (Skowhegan) would get $800,000; RSU 73 (Jay) an additional $700,000; and, East Millinocket $100,000, according to the fiscal information provided on the bill.

The recalculation of the communities’ valuation would include more recent estimates on the devaluation of their paper mills.

The bill, L.D. 281, was sponsored by House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan. It was reported out of the Taxation Committee with a divided recommendation on June 18 and ran in the House and Senate on June 23, just before the Legislature recessed.

The bill landed before the Appropriations Committee, which on June 25 decided to table it until tomorrow, June 30.

The Legislature is scheduled to return to Augusta on June 30 to override the governor’s veto of the state budget, and is scheduled to come back again on July 16 to deal with additional bills vetoed by the governor.

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