Friday, March 7, 2014
Addendum: A couple of footnotes to Friday's story on the tax reform bill that will have a public hearing in the Taxation Committee.
One criticism of the plan that's not included in Press Herald breakdown is that many are questioning whether it's possible to determine the effects of exporting the tax burden from residents to non-residents. Sen. Dick Woodbury, the plan's architect, believes the proposal does this, but he'll be challenged to prove it.
Meg Gray Wiehe, state tax policy director for the Washington D.C.-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, is skeptical.
"It’s a little nonsensical that you could do this kind of massive reform in a way that magically every resident in Maine gets a tax cut and non-residents are paying more," she said. "I don’t see how you pull that piece off."
Also, the story devotes a lot of space to the sales tax exemptions that the bill's proponents plan to use help pay for the income tax cut.
Questions about the value of exemptions -- and the lost revenue -- have prompted some states to create policies that prompt a legislative review. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon, New Jersey and Wisconsin have done this, however, the review programs have been criticized for being underfunded.
Coincidentally, Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono, has a bill that would give the Legislature jurisdiction over the tax expenditure process and review exemptions in odd-numbered years.
Finally, below is a Google document I created for the story and the projected revenue loss in the next biennium according to Maine Revenue Services.
Wrong party: U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, attended a campaign fundraiser on Thursday.
No, not a gubernatorial campaign fundraiser.
According to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation Political Party Time site, Michaud attended a fundraiser for his congressional campaign committee on Wednesday. The Lobster Bake at the Credit Union House in Washington, D.C. is an annual event, but that may not ease the anxiety among Democrats who hope Michaud will run for governor in 2014.
According to Party Time, Michaud has attended two fundraisers this year, compared to the six he attended in 2011 through the same period. Lots of caveats in that sample because it may not fully capture the number of fundraisers a candidate has attended. Party Time relies on people to anonymously turn in the fundraiser invitations.
Junked: Democrats on the Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday voted against a bill that could allow the state to prohibit food stamp recipients from buying soft drinks and junk food.
The bipartisan proposal was backed by Gov. Paul LePage. Proponents argued that the taxpayer-funded Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program shouldn't be used to purchase foods that could lead to obesity and health problems.
The 8-5 committee vote to defeat the bill means it will still likely come up for debate when the Senate and House take floor votes on the measure.
Non-political item: Rolling Stone conducted a readers' poll of the 10 worst bands of the 1990s. Happy to say that I agree with nearly all of the results, but sad to say that I actually paid to listen to at least seven of them when they were popular.
No, not Ace of Base. And definitely not Hanson.Tweet
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.