- Associated Press - Saturday, January 6, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Lawmakers expect to receive a report this month that will say whether Maine needs to make any changes in responses to tax reform legislation recently passed by Congress.

Maine Revenue Service will release a report at the end of January about what Maine may have to do to conform to the new law, said Maine Republican Sen. Dana Dow, Senate chair of the Legislature’s joint taxation committee.

“It’s a lot of uncertainty because it’s a lot of changes and we don’t know what they all are yet,” Dow said, later adding: “I think it’s going to be more substantial. It’s not going to be a simple little conformity bill like we had this year.”

The $1.5 trillion plan cuts taxes broadly while bestowing its richest benefits on companies and wealthy individuals. The federal tax overhaul will force officials in most states to decide whether to apply similar changes to their own income taxes.

Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services spokesman David Heidrich said that lawmakers this session will have to consider and pass still in-the-works legislation to figure out whether Maine conforms to the Congressional tax reform bill.

Lawmakers are already hinting there could at a political fight over any legislation.

“It has the potential to be a contentious issue,” said Assistant House Republican Leader Ellie Espling.

Meanwhile, Christine Kirby, spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats, said she expects to see bills addressing tax conformity, but said the Legislature isn’t technically required to take any action. “On the Democratic side, it will come down to whether tax conformity benefits Maine people or not,” she said.

Dow said he planned to meet with Republican Gov. Paul LePage to discuss what steps the governor thinks the state may need to take.

“Anything you think is easy and going to go over real good, it’s political,” Dow said. “And it’s an election year, which is even worse.”

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