Eliminating Maine’s 3% surtax on the state’s highest earners. That’s what a new bill is proposing.
A public meeting was held in Augusta to address the issue that Mainers approved last November.
Several bills have been introduced that would repeal, amend or amend laws related to Question 2.
“That had two parts to it,” said Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “The first, to fund education to 55% and the other, was to fund those means in the way of a 3% tax on individuals, family income or small businesses that exceeded $200,000.”
One of those bills is LD 571.
“Last year the people of Maine voted to increase education funding with the passage of Question 2.”
It makes Maine’s top tax rate of 10.15 percent one of the highest in the nation.
“This 3% really threatens in many ways the ability to have a viable strong economy and that doesn’t work for us. It doesn’t work for Maine people and it certainly doesn’t work for the economy.”
Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, says this surtax will hurt small businesses.
Those who support its elimination are not against increasing funding for schools, but want to find alternative methods to do so.
One of those methods would tax revenue from recreational marijuana, which was legalized through another citizen initiative in 2016.
“The voters told us very clearly how they want the 55% funded, and I think that’s something you have to abide by.”
Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson is opposed to this bill… He says more people voted on this referendum question than they did for President of the United States. And that maintaining the 3% surtax would not harm Mainers.
“We’ve given two income tax cuts to the highest wage earners in the state already, and so in my opinion, we’re not actually adversely affecting them when you consider all the gains they’ve already got from working class people.”
Representatives from the Maine Center for Economic Policy also testified against the bill.
They claim the wealthiest 1% of Maine households will still pay a lower effective tax rate than 75% of Maine’s middle class families.
The taxation committee will hold a work session in the future to discuss the proposed bill.