MECEP Urges Taxation Committee to Target Tax Reductions “to Those Who Pay the Greatest Share of Household Income in Taxes”

Calls for reforms that “are balanced, minimize the damage for Maine people, and leave us better positioned to achieve future prosperity”
Augusta, Maine (Wednesday, November 9, 2011)- The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) today presented its recommendations for potential taxation reforms to the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Taxation. MECEP Executive Director Garrett Martin urged the Committee “to pursue solutions that are balanced, minimize the damage for Maine people, and leave us better positioned to achieve future prosperity.”
“Tax reform is the process of changing the way taxes are assessed, collected or managed by the government,” Martin said. “This Committee has the potential to significantly impact Maine families and businesses for many years to come. We are guided by the belief that tax reductions should be targeted to those who pay the greatest share of household income in taxes.”
MECEP made a series of recommendations for the Committee’s consideration, including:
1)    Recalibrate income brackets which are too low.
2)    Implement a more progressive rate structure combined with adjustments to income brackets to improve overall progressivity and adequacy.
3)    Expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and make it refundable.
4)    Strengthen and streamline the state’s property tax “Circuit Breaker” program to improve participation rates.
5)    Expand the sales tax base and consider adjusting the rate to improve stability and potentially help offset further income or property tax relief but not at the expense of low-income households.
6)    Raise the tax on lodging and short-term auto rentals.
7)    Increase transparency and accountability of the state’s more than 100 personal and corporate income tax and property tax reimbursement programs, as well as more than 100 sales and excise tax exceptions.