SENATE REPUBLICANS ENDORSE UNPAID FOR PROPOSAL TAX BREAK
Measure raises property taxes and guts education funding but gives top-heavy break to wealthiest Mainers
AUGUSTA –In a vote of 20 to 14, Maine Senate Republicans voted to eliminate the income tax, resulting in a $1.7 billion proposal that is unpaid for. Additionally, eliminating the income tax would force cuts to public K-12 and higher education, with the majority of the tax break going to those with incomes greater than $392,000.
“This proposal to eliminate the income tax is more of a political sound bite than a credible proposal,” said Democratic State Senator Nate Libby of Lewiston who serves on the state’s Taxation Committee. “As someone who has worked on bipartisan tax reform for as long as I’ve been in the Legislature, I can say with certainty, that no serious plan would include a gaping hole in our budget.”
Maine spends close to $1.2 billion on K-12 and higher education and $750 million on health care for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Even if the governor cut all state funding for education and half the funding for health care, there still wouldn’t be enough money to cover the cost of eliminating Maine’s income tax.
Senator Libby added, “This proposal would force irresponsible cuts to education and hurt our towns at a magnitude that even the governor can’t explain how it will be paid for.”
In 1969, Maine’s income tax was passed by a Republican Legislature and a Democratic Governor in order to protect rural communities, middle- and low-income families from more regressive taxes such as sales and property tax increases. The income tax, which is based on ability to pay, was viewed as a more fair tax.
The Constitutional amendment failed to garner the needed two-thirds vote that will be required to pass upon enactment.