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.