It is unclear why Brennan is encouraging the legislature to pass a bill governing the use of property tax revenues, since property taxes are clearly "local in nature and character" and so locally governed pursuant to the Home Rule Amendment of our state constitution- not by the state legislature. None the less the state legislature has repeatedly usurped the rights of local authorities ( the MRRA and the Loring Development - both chartered by the legislature as municipal corporations and both charters amended by the legislature even though the Home Rule Amendment places the authority to amend a municipal charter in the hands of the inhabitants of the municipality ). Perhaps Brennan feels he has a better chance of getting agreement by taking it to the legislature than by a vote by the inhabitants of the municipality, wherein the entire Portland retail sector would have a say in the matter.
The retail sector will be adversely affected by the creation of a municipal sales tax which becomes necessary when the use of property tax revenue is reallocated from funding municipal services to use as investment capital. Appealing to the legislature to statutorily bypass the constitution, as the legislature has done so many time before, is a betrayal of Portland's retailers and of all the inhabitants of the municipality of Portland. The power elite has been getting away with usurping local power in this state because no one challenges them. If they are not challenged this time around the micro economy will take another big hit in what is becoming a long extended battle between the micro economy and Maine State Enterprises.
The move by the municipality of Portland to use its property tax revenues as investment capital- all the while touting its horn as "Maine's economic engine" is not a violation of the Home Rule Amendment if it is a decision made by the inhabitants of Portland but if the state legislature passes a statute regulating the use of property taxes and at the same time initiating a municipal sales tax, it implicates Maine State Enterprises in trying to do a swap out and grab property taxes for its own purposes while dumping an economic slow down on the micro economy at the same time that the micro economy is expected to cover the cost of municipal services.
Maine State Inc. Maine's state corporate network, whose primary function is to redistribute capital to special interests, looks dangerously similar in its "investment" function as does the "property tax increment financing". In a state wherein all that is needed is the word "quasi" to merge anything- even legally mutually exclusive entities into one, this is something about which we should be wary. Portland is also a big benefactor of Maine State Inc's redistributive function and there is likely already a network of special interests involved in the attempt to take Portland's property taxes as "economic development" investment capital- at the expense of those who see little benefit from the states economic development initiatives.
Municipal Home Rule.Section 1. Power of municipalities to amend their charters. The inhabitants of any municipality shall have the power to alter and amend their charters on all matters, not prohibited by Constitution or general law, which are local and municipal in character. The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure by which the municipality may so act.
Section 2. Construction of buildings for industrial use. For the purposes of fostering, encouraging and assisting the physical location, settlement and resettlement of industrial and manufacturing enterprises within the physical boundaries of any municipality, the registered voters of that municipality may, by majority vote, authorize the issuance of notes or bonds in the name of the municipality for the purpose of purchasing land and interests therein or constructing buildings for industrial use, to be leased or sold by the municipality to any responsible industrial firm or corporation.