August 26, 2013

Bill would keep state revenue office open in Houlton

The state's finance commissioner decided to close the office to save $900,000 over two years.

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers will consider legislation this week that would reverse a decision to shutter a state office that caused 11 state workers to lose their jobs.

A committee will take up a proposal Wednesday to keep open the Maine Revenue Service Office in Houlton, Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson's office said Monday. If approved, the Legislature will vote on the bill when it meets Thursday for a special session.

Jackson criticized Republican Gov. Paul LePage in a statement for closing the office without input from lawmakers or the public. But the department has said LePage was not part of its decision to close the office.

Department of Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Sawin Millett signed off on the decision by Maine Revenue Services earlier this month to close the office and consolidate operations in Augusta to save $900,000 over the two-year budget cycle.

The decision was made as the Houlton office's lease came up for renewal. If the decision stands, the work will be done by five people in Augusta, and the 11 displaced workers will have first dibs on those jobs.

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