March 25, 2004
by Mike Corrigan
Water Dividend Trust
Former State Representative Jim Wilfong's proposal for a Water Dividend Trust for Maine has received a good acceptance from legislators and private citizens he has approached with the idea.
Under the proposal:
- Water mined from Maine would be taxed at a rate of 20 cents per gallon, as of the effective date of the bill, and adjusted annually on July 1 at the rate of change for the price of bottled water in the U.S. for the 12 months prior to the adjustment.
- Use of funds. Five percent of the monies collected by this charge will be used to protect the sources of Maine water by funding the Water Resources Conservation Board, which will regulate the amount of water being taken from each aquifer, to assure that the amount of water is sustainable, that it is having no negative effect on the level of the aquifer that might negatively affect the levels of Maine lakes, farming interests or private wells.
- All monies except the 5% for the Water Resources Conservation Board shall
be invested in Maine's Dividend Trust. The trustees shall be charged with
protecting the trust and letting the principal grow to a sustainable level.
- Proceeds from the trust shall be used as follows:
l0% will aid the municipalities in
an aquifer on a per mile basis to cover the costs of improving and
maintaining the roadways and other infrastructure affected by the
50% will help Maine meet the costs of K- 12
education in Maine, as an investment in Maine's future.
40% shall go to a revo1ving fund to he1p all Maine
people (particularly young people) to start small business enterprises.