Still, some bills that simply made the tax code more balanced were successful last year, including a measure to stop large chain stores from exploiting a “dark store” tax scheme by arguing that their retail properties should be valued the same as abandoned shopping centers that have lost economic value. Mills allowed that bill to become law without her signature.
This year, advocates appear to be pursuing a similar strategy: pushing for a more just tax code rather than raising tax rates, especially with the state once again registering a budget surplus.
“From our perspective it’s more about fairness and what [the wealthy and corporations] actually owe,” said Maura Pillsbury, state and local tax analyst with the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP). “Rather than seeing it as an increase in taxes, we would just see it as tax fairness.”