- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

BRIDGTON, Maine (AP) - Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler started a statewide tour on Monday highlighting his proposal to reduce property taxes for homeowners.

Cutler - who’s challenging Republican Gov. Paul LePage, along with Democrat Mike Michaud - wants to lower property taxes for most homeowners by 20 to 40 percent and push some of the tax burden onto those who visit Maine.

His “property tax roadshow” to tout his proposal began Monday in Bridgton and will take him to several communities this summer.

Cutler said property taxes place a “disproportionate and regressive burden on particularly vulnerable Mainers.”

“Seniors on fixed incomes, students in underfunded schools, farmers who are pushed off their land and fishermen who are driven from the shore are all among the casualties of Maine’s growing dependence on property taxes,” he said in a statement.

His plan would lower property taxes by increasing the homestead exemption. He’s proposing to pay for it by adopting a seasonal sales tax increase from 5 to 7 percent, along with raising the tax on amusements and maintaining the current 8 percent meals-and-lodging tax, or through a permanent sales tax increase from 5 to 6 percent.

LePage and Michaud’s campaign have both criticized the proposal. LePage’s team has said the idea to raise sales taxes while reducing property taxes “robs Peter to pay Paul.”

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