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Snack Tax and Wind Development Slow Down Among New Laws

AUGUSTA, Maine_ A number of new laws took effect January 1. One was the so-called "snack tax" which  makes certain non-essential food items subject to a 5.5% sales tax. As of Friday, items such as chocolate chips, ice cream, marshmallows, granola bars, snack mixes, and certain prepared foods are taxable.

Another law that took effect Friday  is one that could let opponents of wind power slow down a development in their area. The law gives citizens six months to ask for a development area to be removed from the state's expedited wind development permitting process, via petition. 

At least ten percent of active voters in the development area must sign the petition in order to have the area removed.

Among areas expected to file petitions as early as this week are communities in the Moosehead Lake Region, which, this year, underwent tourism and recreation studies to try and develop an economy, based on the area's pristine, scenic beauty.

 The state Land Use Planning Commission will review the petitions. The process does not necessarily keep wind development from happening, but adds an extra step that developers would have to follow in seeking approval for commercial developments.