Conservative fiscal policies at the state and national level have been a key cause of the lackluster economic recovery following the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). EPI’s findings are especially relevant for Maine; while EPI cites the post-2009 recovery as one of the longest on record, Maine’s recovery has been even slower. The U.S. economy recovered its pre-Recession employment levels … Read the rest
We all want a financially sound state government, but Governor LePage seems bent on undermining our public services in the name of fiscal integrity.
His most recent remarks bemoaning the unavailability of state surplus funds because of the so-called “cascade” follow his attempt this spring to move a $72 million surplus into the Budget Stabilization Fund. The governor’s statements are not only contrary to prudent budget management, … Read the rest
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 … Read the rest
Latest Budget Deal modestly improves Maine’s tax system progressivity, future revenue adequacy less certain
Today, state legislators released details of a budget deal that, if passed, would avoid a state government shutdown. The deal includes significant changes to Maine’s tax code. The proposal:
Restructures the state’s tax brackets and rates;
Increases the standard deduction this year but then phases it out;
Phases out itemized deductions for upper income taxpayers;
Doubles the homestead exemption for all Maine resident homeowners;
Maintains the current 5.5% sales tax
Last Friday legislative Republicans released their tax plan for the coming two-year budget cycle. In reference to the Republican plan, Maine people deserve an answer to one specific question:
“The legislative Republicans’ tax proposal takes money from poor and working class Mainers and gives it to the wealthy. Is this by design or by mistake?”
Under the Republican plan, Mainers with incomes less than $57,000 get a tax increase. That’s … Read the rest
Republican legislators released their plan for overhauling Maine’s tax system last week. Yesterday MECEP posted a chart comparing the distributional impacts of the Republican and Democratic plans. The key takeaway from that chart was that Mainers whose income is less than $89,000 – the bottom 80% of all Maine taxpayers – fare better on average under the Democratic plan, while the top 20% of Mainers do better under the … Read the rest
Last week Republican legislators released their proposal for overhauling Maine’s tax system. The plan includes income and corporate tax cuts, and eliminates the estate tax, all disproportionately benefiting Maine’s wealthiest earners. It also continues the current 5.5% sales tax rate slated to expire later this year, and increases the meals and lodging tax rate to 9%. The Republican plan offers no new property tax relief or credits to improve the … Read the rest
Last week, the (Lewiston) Sun Journal reported that the LePage Administration’s anti-bonding policies are forcing MaineGeneral Medical Center to pay $42 million more in interest on loans than is necessary on the construction of their new hospital in Augusta. That’s $1.4 million in avoidable interest payments annually for 30 years.
The legislature created the Maine Health and Higher Education Facilities Authority (MHHEFA) to allow entities like hospitals, nursing homes, public … Read the rest
Today, Eliot Cutler released a plan for providing property tax relief to Maine residents. The center piece is a dramatic increase in Maine’s homestead exemption program, elimination of revenue sharing as we know it, and a new approach to channeling revenue collected by the state to towns and cities.
The basic premise is that Mainers increasingly feel the bite of property tax increases and that our current three pronged approach … Read the rest
Robert Reich is short, four feet, eleven inches to be precise. I mention his height because the former labor secretary and current professor at the University of California Berkeley makes it an integral part of the presentation in his thought provoking new documentary, Inequality for All, currently showing at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville.
When Reich speaks about the ever-widening income gap in America between the uber-rich … Read the rest