Letter: Maine must overturn 3% tax on high earners

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I fear the new 3 percent tax increase on higher earning individuals in Maine is the beginning of a downward spiral for Maine’s economy. In the first quarter of 2017, income tax collections by the state should have increased by as much as $40 million if supporters of the tax increase were correct. Instead, collections remained flat and are now projected to actually decline, leaving less money to spend on schools.

Why? Maine residents are voting with their feet by moving to tax-friendly states or shifting their income to reduce their Maine tax burden. It’s a fact that supporters of the increase want to ignore, but people with money go where they can keep more of it. Ask Connecticut how their increase on high-income earners worked. Income tax collections dropped and they are facing a huge budget deficit.

Maine’s economy needs to be robust to invest in our schools. To accomplish that, those individuals must spend their money in Maine and keep their businesses here. We need to be able to recruit doctors, college professors, technology leaders, and researchers for the new economy we are trying to build. Increasing taxes on those families does not do that.

Rep. Janice Cooper of Yarmouth and Sen. Cathy Breen of Falmouth need to vote to overturn or offset the 3 percent increase for the future of Maine. Their constituents rejected it overwhelmingly and they should, too.

Lincoln J. Merrill Jr., president
Patriot Insurance Co.

  • Jane Gildart

    Also, ask your candidates for Town office how they voted on the 3% tax referendum. If they thought it was a good idea, they are either extremely ideological or not able to understand fiscal policy.

    • EdBeem

      Or they understand that the rich aren’t paying their fair share.

      • poppypapa

        Just what is their “fair share,” Eddie?

        Why don’t you give us a lecture in the state income tax amounts paid by various income segments?

        At the federal level, the share paid by the top 10% of taxpayers is staggeringly high.

        The amount paid by the lower half of taxpayers is essentially nil.

        So come on. Define fair. “More” is not definitive in this respect. It simply defers to feelings.

  • Chew H Bird

    By singling out one income group for a special tax, Maine is sending a message that we do not welcome people in our state that have the resources to create local jobs. While the “little guy”, in general terms, often seeks to have the more wealthy pay additional amounts, the reality is 3 percent of 100 dollars is three bucks and 3 percent of a thousand dollars is thirty bucks, so the wealthy always pay more. The catch are deductions and that can be resolved through the tax code. Adding a special tax rate for high earners sends the wrong message to every Maine resident.

    If our elected officials actually cared about school budgets they would make certain the state is held to their promised amount and if that is not sufficient they would amend the tax code to fix it. They would also audit the departments responsible for funding education and reduce systemic waste in the system. Instead, we, (the people of Maine), continue to fall for the promises of politicians who seek politically fortuitous short term fixes to keep themselves elected rather than doing the heavy lifting we elected them to do.