On Friday, Governor Paul LePage announced his two-year budget proposal that would achieve $300 million in savings by 2019 by making huge changes to Maine's tax system. The plan includes reducing the income tax while expanding the sales tax to affect goods and services that are currently exempt, while also eliminating state aid to municipalities via the revenue-sharing program by 2017. In order to make up for the elimination of state revenue sharing in the second year of his biennial budget, LePage's plan would allow communities to tax large nonprofit organizations with valuations greater than $500,000, such as hospitals, colleges and private schools. The organizations would be taxed at 50 percent of the property tax rate for assessed value above $500,000.
Due to more reductions in state aid to Maine cities and towns, municipal officials warn that it will result in skyrocketing property taxes and cuts to essential services. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration and business owners say the plan to pay for revenue sharing by cutting some tax incentive programs or dipping into the state's savings fund will hurt companies that are still struggling from the recession. Mayors, city council members and town managers are urging lawmakers to approve a measure that would prevent the reduction of $40 million in municipal aid next year — which is supposed to happen if lawmakers fail to agree on which tax breaks or cuts should be eliminated to find savings in the tax code.
Benchmark Senior Living will add their 34 senior housing communities to Health Care REIT's portfolio, combining to form an $890 million partnership between the two companies. Health Care REIT will have 95% partnership interest to Benchmark's 5%. According to GlobeSt.com, the partnership will continue to enhance Health Care REIT's growth potential as Benchmark has been able to produce exceptional NOI growth despite a rough economic client.