Governor Paul R. LePage
|May 29, 2010||
Radio Address: Memorial Day and Tax Reform
May 29, 2010
Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.
As we enjoy this spring weekend with family and friends, I hope everyone will join me in paying tribute to the men and women who have served in our military.
On Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while wearing the uniform of the United States of America.
They kept us safe and protected the values that make our country great.
We will never forget their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of those close to them.
And as we also hold close in our hearts the men and women who are serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world, we are proud of their service and look forward to their safe return home.
They are giving of themselves for all of us.
While our attention this weekend is on matters much more personal than the June 8th election, there’s an issue that will be decided in the next couple of weeks that I would like to talk about.
It’s not often that voters get a chance to weigh in on a so-called “miracle.”
But come June 8th, that’s exactly what will happen.
Last year, the Maine Legislature lowered the Maine income tax rate.
Despite the worst recession since the Great Depression and tremendous pressure to raise taxes, it didn’t happen.
Maine held the line.
And instead of raising taxes, we passed a new law that actually lowers the income tax rate for Mainer’s making less than $250,000 dollars from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent.
The change was so impressive that the conservative Wall Street Journal characterized the tax change as the “Maine Miracle.”
Since then, the law has come under attack from some folks, hoping to grab power by misrepresenting tax reform.
They have placed the law on the ballot and are asking Maine voters to repeal the law and raise their own taxes.
It just doesn’t make sense.
Here are the facts:
The tax reform plan will lower the overall tax burden for nine out of 10 Maine families.
For families making less than $30,000 dollars a year, 97 percent will pay less in taxes.
The plan lowers the income tax rate, and makes the tax code more progressive.
That means more low- and middle-income families will get a refund.
Overall, Maine taxpayers will pay more than $50 million dollars less in State taxes.
The reform has the support of the business community, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Portland Region Chamber of Commerce and the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.
It also has the support of organizations such as AARP and Maine Center for Economic Policy.
Taxes – and changes to the tax code – are almost always controversial.
But this reform has drawn the support of a broad coalition.
They are united behind the idea that a lower income tax and a more progressive tax code are good for Mainers, good for business and good for investment.
So, tax reform rewards work and gives Maine families more money to spend on the things they need.
It will attract new businesses to Maine and help to make our State more competitive.
So, to pay for the lower income tax rates, the tax reform plan does apply the sales tax to some things that were tax-exempt.
And it increases the amount paid by tourists to eat in restaurants or stay overnight in hotels.
But for people who live and work in Maine, taxes will go down by more than $50 million a year.
Now, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about tax reform.
And some people claim it includes adding a sales tax to hair cuts or electrician services, for example.
And the tax changes don’t include business-to-business services.
For other groups, opposition to tax reform is based on a national strategy to protect special interest carve-outs and exemptions.
I understand that they want to protect their own interests.
But tax reform is good for ALL of Maine.
It will help to grow our economy.
And it demonstrates that Maine is committed to creating a positive business environment.
If the new law is repealed, the highest income tax rate in Maine will increase by 30 percent.
To me, that’s unacceptable.
The law will help working families, the elderly and businesses.
It will make our tax code more stable.
And it will help our economy grow.
For the past seven years, Maine has been frugal.
We’ve reduced the size of government, while protecting core services.
We’ve invested in innovation and education.
And we’ve done it without raising taxes.
Now we have an opportunity to lower the income tax rate and reward work and reward investment.
On June 8th, I will vote “No” on Question 1.
It’s a vote that will help our economy, businesses and families.
Thank you and have a great Memorial Day weekend.