#BetterDeal4ME is a big winner in Maine’s major newspapers

April 14, 2015 by

261351869-A-Better-Deal-for-MaineWhen the Democratic leaders in the legislature announced their Better Deal for Maine (#BetterDeal4ME) plan on April 9, the Bangor Daily News was bullish on the proposal:

“Democratic leaders in the Legislature have put forward something more than opposition: They’ve released a tax plan of their own that moves the entire conversation about tax reform in a promising direction.”

Noting that “the tax burden in only five other states is more heavily weighted toward the property tax than it is in Maine,” the editorial praises #BetterDeal4ME for tackling

“. . . three things the LePage budget doesn’t to keep property taxes in check: It raises municipal revenue sharing above current levels rather than eliminating it, . . . provides $20 million more than the LePage budget would in school aid, a move that has proven in the past to keep property taxes in check, . . . doubles the homestead exemption for all resident homeowners, rather than double it for seniors only and eliminate it for everyone else” as the governor proposes.

Under #BetterDeal4ME, the editors emphasize, “the first $20,000 of property value for all resident homeowners would be exempt from the property tax.” The editorial also notes that #BetterDeal4ME is far more fiscally responsible that the governor’s plan, a major concern MECEP had identified”

“Another major advantage to the Democratic plan is that, unlike the LePage plan, it leaves no budget hole in the future that will have to be filled with major cuts (LePage’s budget, after all, increases state spending) or new revenues. It also, wisely, avoids making any changes to the corporate income and estate taxes.”

The Maine Sunday Telegram also weighed in with strong support for #BetterDeal4ME in an editorial entitled “Democratic legislators’ tax plan is right response to LePage.”

“While both plans cut income taxes, the Democrats focus their relief on the middle class,” the editors write, adding

“Gov. LePage drops thousands of lower-income Mainers off the tax rolls, but the majority of the relief he offers goes to top earners. He gives half of his tax cuts to the top 5 percent of incomes. The Democratic plan delivers 98 percent of its tax relief to the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers.”

The editorial echoes another major theme MECEP has emphasized in our response to the governor’s plan:

“The governor argues that the cuts in the top rates are necessary to put more money in the hands of ‘job creators,’ but taxes are low on the list of the factors businesses consider when they expand or move. It has been proven to be much more effective to put money in the hands of consumers who will spend it. That boosts demand and leads to economic growth.”

The Maine Sunday Telegram gives credit to #BetterDeal4ME for embracing positive ideas Gov. LePage has advanced:

“The Democrats adopt the governor’s proposed elimination of sales tax exemptions for services, but instead of raising the rate to 6.5 percent, they would keep it at the current 5.5 percent. Their plan also adopts the governor’s idea of a refundable sales tax credit for low-income filers, in order to make the increase in this levy less of a burden for people who pay a higher percentage of their income on sales tax.”

To see more of the response MECEP has offered on both the governor’s plan and #BetterDeal4ME check out our website’s Tax & Budget page, here.

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