STATEWIDE — State Representative John Andrews has introduced a bill that would apply one income tax rate to all Mainers.
State Rep. John Andrews (L-Paris) said his proposed law could help stimulate Maine’s economy, but some disagree.
“Maine’s income tax treats millionaires the same way it treats middle-class families,” said Adam Zuckerman, a lobbyist with the Maine People’s Alliance.
While income requirements for each bracket vary on your marital status, and how you file, the Maine state income tax rate is 5.8% for the lowest-earning tax bracket, 6.75% for those in the middle bracket, and 7.15% for the highest earners in each filing category.
Rep. Andrews’ proposed bill would create a 5% flat income tax rate for all Mainers.
The Legislative Taxation Committee also discussed four other bills related to taxation Thursday. One bill proposed by Rep. Thom Harnett (D-Gardiner) would add a higher tax rate of 10.15% on Mainers earning more than $100,000, regardless of if they file jointly if married, or as an individual.
“All four bills represent a public policy that is opposite to the stated goals of the state’s ten-year strategic plan,” said Linda Caprara, a government affairs specialist with the Maine Chamber of Commerce.
“There is a surplus of revenue as it is and there’s no reason to increase taxes to increase revenue,” said J. Andrew Cashman, partner at Preti Flaherty Government Affairs Group.
Ben Lucas, executive director at Maine Jobs Council said, “Maine currently has the 4th highest tax burden in the United States, the proposed legislation today [with the exception of Rep. Andrews’ bill] would all raise taxes and make it even less likely that Maine would attract or obtain foundational jobs, innovation, and investment.”
During the public hearing Thursday morning, some said lower tax rates, or no taxation increases, give grace to Maine’s people.
“If this legislature truly believes in the economic plan of the state of Maine you should be creating a tax policy that promotes business growth and creates jobs not seeking to increase taxes,” said Jessica Laliberte, policy relations manager at Manufacturers Association of Maine.
Others argue the bills heard Thursday do not align with the state’s goals.
“Raising income taxes on the wealthiest Mainers is the fairest way to raise revenues for the long term to help our neighbors,” said Shaun Donnelly, a Portland resident, and artist.
Legislators will conduct a work session in the coming weeks to discuss whether to recommend the bills to the full legislature.