Legislative Update From Denise Tepler, HD 54
It is an honor to serve as your State Representative. I’m excited to begin my first term working for the people of Topsham, and I hope that I can earn and retain your trust over the next two years.
Earlier this month, the Legislature began a brand new session, and it looks like we will be dealing with at least 1,500 bills. This year I’ve submitted two bills:
The first bill restores full funding to Maine’s revenue sharing program over the next four years, easing pressure on local budgets and property taxpayers. I put in this bill so that Topsham, and all Maine towns, can continue to efficiently deliver the services that residents need without raising your property taxes. A lot of working people are struggling, and so are seniors on fixed incomes – especially with this cold weather. Rising property taxes hit all of us hard but are especially difficult for our most vulnerable neighbors.
The second bill asks developers to do a better job paying contractors and subcontractors the money they are owned in a timely fashion. Without getting too deep in the weeds, this bill will improve cash flows for a lot of local small businesses, helping owners grow the enterprises they have built, hire more workers and support their families. It is a business-positive bill for which I am seeking and receiving support from both sides of the aisle.
I’m also happy to report that I have been appointed to the Legislature’s Taxation Committee. I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this important policy area. There is a lot we can do to move Maine toward a system that is fair to everyone, helps Maine’s economy grow and prevents further property tax increases.
Earlier this month, Gov. Paul LePage released his proposed biennial budget. It’s a large, complicated document, and we’re going through it very carefully. Some of the ideas it contains may make life better for the average Maine family, but other parts of it will have the opposite effect.
Over the next few months, my colleagues and I will be seeking input from constituents and making suggestions about what should stay and what needs to go. You can read the full budget here and follow the Legislature’s review process here.
Finally, I wanted to point out a little good news for constituents . The Maine Department of Transportation has announced its work plan for the next three years, and there are several projects located in Topsham. There will be improvements to Route 196, bike trails, the Exit 31 ramps on 295 and more. Hopefully these projects will improve safety and the overall quality of our infrastructure.