The Maine State Chamber of Commerce has switched its position on tax reform. The group said today that it opposes Question 1 on the state ballot, which would repeal the tax reform law passed by the Legislature last year.

The law lowers Maine’s income tax for 95 percent of Maine residents and expands the sales tax, shifting $50 billion in tax burden to non-residents, the chamber said in announcing its position today.

“Lowering the income tax rate has been something that the Maine State Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for,” said Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber.

“We hope the law is given the opportunity to work, and are confident that it will help businesses here in Maine while attracting additional
investment to this state from other parts of the country,” he said.

The chamber was part of a coalition that urged the governor to veto tax reform last summer. The coalition opposed the increase in some real estate transfer taxes and worried about impacts on the tourism industry.

Now however, the chamber says the new law is worth preserving.

Steve Culver, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, and Connors, issued a statement Wednesday that said the opportunity to lower income taxes on workers and businesses is too important to pass up. They said improvements in the law can be made in future sessions.

“We have seen some signs that the economy may be starting to improve here in Maine and across the country,” their statement says. “We believe the tax reform plan is an important part of our long-term plan to grow Maine’s economy.”

Question 1 will appear on the June 8th ballot and reads: “Do you want to reject the new law that lowers Maine’s income tax and replaces that revenue by making changes to the sales tax?”