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For Immediate Release

Date: 02/25/11

Rep. Ryan Harmon Begins Work on Taxation Committee

AUGUSTA -- State Rep. Ryan Harmon has settled into work on the Legislature's high-profile Taxation Committee, putting him in a position to help shape policy regarding municipal revenue sharing, taxes and other important financial issues.

Rep. Harmon (R-Palermo), a first-term legislator, said the schedule is shaping up for a very busy session on the committee. "It looks as if at least 200 bills will be sent to Taxation for public hearings and work sessions," he said. "That's a large number, so I expect some long days and long weeks in Augusta, which I am looking forward to so I can do the best job possible for the people of my district."

Rep. Harmon brings strong credentials to his new assignment. Besides holding an MBA, he is an economics graduate of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the U.S center of the so-called Austrian School of Economics, which advocates free-market capitalism as the best path to overall prosperity. He has worked in the financial sector and served on the Palermo budget committee.

State Rep. Gary Knight (R-Livermore Falls), the House chair of the Taxation panel, said Rep. Harmon brings "a wealth of knowledge" to the committee. "With his educational background, he's a very important member," he said. "In fact, he is already chairing a subcommittee on seed capital, one of the keys to entrepreneurial success."

Rep. Harmon expects the Taxation panel to begin dealing soon with the tax changes in Governor LePage's budget proposal. "The governor's spending plan envisions $203 million in tax cuts over the next two years," he said. "It conforms Maine's standard deduction to the federal code, so individuals filing married joint returns will have a deduction of about $15,000 instead of $9,800. More than 130,000 families will see their taxes drop by an average of $129.

"The governor's budget also eliminates the alternative minimum tax," Rep. Harmon said. "And it would raise the estate tax exemption from $1 million to $2 million. For businesses, the plan would bring Maine law into conformity with the federal code to allow first-year bonus depreciation beginning later this year. That is an extremely valuable feature to encourage business expansion and more employment opportunities."

The Taxation Committee has jurisdiction over the Bureau of Revenue Services and the State Property Tax Review Board. It also oversees tax policy; property valuation and assessment; municipal revenue sharing; taxation of unorganized territories; tax increment financing; and tree growth and other current use tax issues. The panel also has jurisdiction over the Maine Residents Property Tax Program, the so-called "circuit breaker" rebate program.

The Maine Legislature has 16 joint standing committees, each composed of 13 members - three senators and 10 members of the House. Every committee has jurisdiction over clearly defined parts of state government.

Rep. Harmon represents House district 45, which includes the towns of Burnham, Freedom, Knox, Montville, Palermo, Thorndike, Troy and Unity. He is active in numerous community organizations, including Palermo Youth Activities, Inc. and the Sheepscot Fish & Game Association. ###

Contact:
Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445