The Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee approved a bill April 21 sponsored by Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden, that would require the state to fund a mandatory 55% of public school costs for the fiscal year 2021–22. LD 1114, “An Act To Require the State To Meet the Mandatory 55 Percent Contribution to Schools,” passed in committee by a vote of 7-3.

“I have heard it dozens of times: Mainers don’t want their property taxes raised because the state won’t keep up its end of the bargain,” Sen. Miramant said in a news release. “The fact is that Maine voters passed the 55% contribution years ago. I’d say it’s time we came through on that commitment.”

LD 1114 would make sure the state share of funding essential programs and services of public school is 55%. In 2003, Maine voters passed a citizen referendum that required the state to pay for 55% of the costs of operating public schools in order to reduce property taxes. Since then, the state has never met that requirement.

The Preliminary Fiscal Impact Statement prepared for the Legislature estimates an added cost to state government of more than $31.4 million each fiscal year. That cost would be shifted to the state budget and represents the savings to the tax burden at the local level.

LD 1114 now faces votes in the Senate and the House.