AUGUSTA – Voters will be asked today to decide on wide-ranging changes to Maine’s tax system that were passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor last year.

A “yes” vote on Question 1 favors repeal; a “no” vote would let the tax reforms go forward.

The spokesman for the Vote Yes to Reject New Taxes campaign, Curtis Picard, spoke confidently Monday about the campaign to overturn the law.

“We seem to have gotten the word out there,” he said, “and we seem to have resonated with Mainers.”

The spokeswoman for the No Higher Taxes for Maine campaign, which is urging people to vote “no” and let the law take effect, voiced cautious optimism.

“I think we have a fair shot,” said Crystal Canney. “We definitely had the more difficult message to deliver.”

The law — now on the books, but suspended pending the vote — would reduce the state income tax for more than 95 percent of individuals and small businesses, according to Maine Revenue Services, and offset that $75 million revenue loss by expanding the sales tax to an array of products and services.

Tourists are projected to pay a third of the new sales taxes. More than 87 percent of residents are projected to pay less in taxes, even with more sales taxes.

A poll released in late May by Portland-based Critical Insights found that of about 600 Mainers who were polled, 43 percent wanted the law upheld, 38 percent planned to reject it and 19 percent were undecided. The poll had a 4-point margin of error.

The Maine Association of Realtors has given $222,589 since May 24 to encourage voters to reject the legislation. It established a ballot question committee to raise money to produce and air two television ads.

The No Higher Taxes for Maine campaign has also run a series of ads, spending $190,000 on production and media from May 26 to Monday.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Ethan Wilensky-Lanford can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: [email protected]