Governor LePage submitted a bill to eliminate Maine’s estate tax yesterday. The estate tax helps fund education, health care, and infrastructure that keeps our economy strong and competitive and provides a pathway to prosperity for all Mainers regardless of the circumstances of their birth. Eliminating the state tax would jeopardize funding for these pillars of our economy and further divide the wealthiest Mainers from the rest of us.
Low- and middle-income Mainers already pay a larger share of their income in taxes than wealthy Mainers. Eliminating the estate tax would make this worse. Maine’s estate tax affects fewer than 60 estates a year that pass on more than $5.5 million in wealth. That’s less than one-half of one percent of estates annually. Roughly 25 of these families are out-of-state residents. Losing estate tax revenue would create an $18 million hole in the budget that legislators will have to fill by raising taxes on low- and middle-income Mainers or making cuts to essential programs that Mainers rely on.
Maine needs a strong economy and a tax system that works for everyone and offers opportunity for all, not just a few. Preserving Maine’s estate tax will help fight growing income inequality, prevent tax hikes on working Mainers, and protect pathways to prosperity for all Mainers.