Cost to ratepayers, risk to property tax revenue cited as risks
October 24, 2023
For immediate release
Contact: Willy Ritch 207-841-8400|[email protected]
Mayors from nine Maine communities issued an open letter to Maine voters this morning expressing their concerns about Question 3—the Pine Tree Power referendum.
“We are particularly worried about Pine Tree Power’s multi-billion-dollar price tag to take over the assets of CMP and Versant, which some estimates could exceed $13 billion. For the State to assume such a large debt and put Maine consumers on the hook for paying it, is concerning, and if approved by voters, will likely raise electric rates for Maine consumers for years to come,” they wrote.
The mayors also expressed deep concern about the potential loss of property tax revenue, pointing out that CMP and Versant are the state’s two largest property taxpayers.
“While the Pine Tree Power referendum provides that the new quasi-governmental authority would be required to pay property taxes, we are painfully aware that this provision can easily be scaled back or eliminated in the future by the Maine Legislature – just as has frequently occurred with state support for school funding and municipal revenue sharing.”
The mayors pointed to the example of Long Island, New York, where pressure to lower electric rates led to the state-run utility scaled back property tax payments to communities.
The mayors who signed the letter are:
Jason Levesque – Auburn
Mark O’Brien – Augusta
Alan Casavant – Biddeford
Soubanh Phanthay – Brewer
Patricia Hart – Gardiner
Carl Sheline – Lewiston
William Doyle – Saco
Becky Brink – Sanford
Michael Foley – Westbrook