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  • Writer's pictureWalter Riseman

2019 Legislative Summary

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

To the Citizens of Harrison, Bridgton and Denmark:

It is an honor and a privilege to serve in the 129th Legislature representing Harrison. My work serving on the State & Local Government Committee where we have been able to advance great bills that set-in action big plans to make sure that government works and that it works for the people. We passed legislation that ensures the executive branch works in concert with the legislature and the judiciary, we have begun work that puts in place the state Commission on Aging, and we have established the Office of Policy Innovation and the Future which will plan and coordinate with other government agencies for a sustainable future for Maine’s communities, natural resources, and industries. It is imperative that we plan for what lies ahead for the state. By creating this office with the sole purpose of long-term goals analyzing where we can grow our economy and do it responsibly in Maine we can realize the full potential for the Maine’s next generations.

The legislature came together this year to relatively quickly pass a budget. While I have some concerns about the increase in total spending, I am happy overall because I do believe that budget works to budget funding to provide healthcare for those who otherwise couldn’t afford it, give more funds to address the opiate crisis, and deliver a larger commitment in education funding with Oxford Hills receiving an additional $60,825 from the state. This budget also doesn’t increase taxes or create new taxes, and will be providing much-needed property tax relief. Earlier this year, if you file for a homestead tax exemption, you should have received a check for $104.00. This is a direct action by the Legislature provided to taxpayers across all of Maine’s sixteen counties to provide some relief from rising property taxes.

Also included in this year’s budget are increases in municipal revenue sharing, up from 2 to 3% in 2020, and to 3.75% in 2021. With state revenue projections turning out higher than originally expected, the numbers are better for the towns to pay for local services like schools, public safety, and road maintenance – instead of relying on property tax increases. Harrison will be receiving $127,175 in 2020 & $169,762 in 2021- this is an additional $40,312 & $42,587, respectively, more than the last approved budget in 2017. This is great news!

In Harrison, we take so much pride in the health of our lakes, and that was why I was honored to sponsor legislation that will direct resources to our community volunteers who work at preventing invasive species like milfoil in our lakes. We can estimate that the increase will bring in over $700,000 in funds dispersed to organizations that will provide education and inspection at boat ramps to keep our lakes pristine.

This next session, we have a lot of big issues and we need to work to figure out what government’s role is in expanding Maine’s economic potential. Please get in touch with me to share your opinion on pending legislation or if you need help with any government agency. I am at your service and proud to share our story as a community.

Walter Riseman

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