MECEP Statement on Gov. LePage’s Proposal to Cut Income Taxes and Repeal Maine’s Estate Tax

Hearing today before the legislature’s Joint Standing Committees on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and Taxation

Augusta, Maine (Tuesday, February 17, 2015) The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) issued the following statement on Gov. LePage’s proposal to cut income taxes and repeal Maine’s estate tax. The legislature’s Joint Standing Committees on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and Taxation are holding a hearing today on these provisions from the governor’s proposed budget:

“Governor LePage’s tax reform plan involves many parts, some of which are consistent with changes to Maine’s tax system that are long overdue and that we have supported in the past. Despite this, the governor’s priorities and the impact his proposal will have on future state capacity to invest in schools and communities are cause for serious apprehension.

“We have identified four key concerns with the governor’s plan. First, it sets Maine up for future fiscal crises, which will lead to deep cuts to education, health care, job training, and other foundational components of a strong, sustainable economy. Second, it places too much emphasis on cutting income and estate taxes for Maine’s wealthiest individuals and not enough emphasis on property tax relief for low- and middle-income Maine residents. Third, it will increase inequality among Maine’s taxpayers and in revenues among Maine communities. And fourth, while the governor has voiced his support for exporting more taxes to out-of-state residents, seasonal residents, and tourists, his proposal fails to do this effectively and as extensively as needed.

“The governor’s proposal offers a framework for reform, and we look forward to working toward a plan that addresses the priorities of Maine’s working families. We are not categorically opposed to income tax cuts, but they should be instituted in a way that promotes fairness, assures revenues for schools and other essential public services, and doesn’t compromise critical investments in Maine people.”