AUGUSTA — Nonprofit organizations across the country are closely watching Maine as it considers becoming the first state to impose property taxes on hospitals, private colleges and summer camps.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal has sparked a fiery debate in Maine over what impact nonprofits have on their communities and whether they should have to shoulder the costs for municipal services they consume.

It’s also raising questions about whether other states will follow suit if LePage’s effort is successful.

LePage says that nonprofits need to chip in for services like police, firefighters and snow removal.

Hospitals, colleges and other groups warn that the proposal would force them to raise costs or slash jobs.

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