Libby blasts GOP for ignoring voters, protecting corporate tax loopholes
AUGUSTA — Majority Republicans in the Senate on Wednesday ignored the will of voters and protected a corporate tax loophole that allows large, multinational corporations to hide millions of dollars in offshore bank accounts.
Question 1, passed by voters as a referendum initiative in November of last year, sought to eliminate “low-performing, unaccountable” corporate tax breaks in order to increase funding for the Maine Clean Elections Fund from $2 to $3 million annually.
The Taxation Committee presented a bill that did just that. But in a 20-15 vote, Senate Republicans defeated that bill and instead passed one that struck from the law a requirement that new Clean Elections funding be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.
“This bill completely rewrites last year’s citizen initiative, as if it never happened,” said Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, the lead Senate Democrat on the Taxation Committee. “Voters said, overwhelmingly, that they wanted two things: To strengthen our Clean Elections system and to close corporate tax loopholes. By passing this bill, Republicans in the Senate have ignored the will of Maine people. They should be ashamed.”
Democrats supported a version of the bill that would have followed voters’ instructions by closing a tax loophole that allows large, multinational corporations to avoid paying their fair share by hiding their money in offshore bank accounts. According to Maine Revenue Services, the state loses approximately $10 million each year when multinational corporations hide their income in offshore tax havens.
That version of the bill was passed by the House of Representatives in March.
The bill now returns to the House, in non-concurrence.