Wednesday, April 23, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Unless Dr. Woodbury's reforms are scrupulously tailored to, at the very least, completely offset the regressive effects of increasing the sales tax -- not to mention broadening the base of said sales tax -- then it seems highly likely that, once again, the average working stiff is going to get whacked.
Overall, the U.S. tax system -- federal, state and municipal -- is barely progressive, meaning that the tax burden increases up the income/wealth scale (barely, in our case).
With income gains over the last 30 years having almost entirely all gone exclusively to the upper 10 percent income bracket, and with median wages stagnating over the last several decades, the last thing we should be doing is stacking the deck further against the little guy.
The progressive/Democratic side of the coalition had better think twice about sponsoring the proposal without further analysis.
A good starting place might be a distributional analysis of the tax burden by Citizens for Tax Justice.
If the net effect is regressive, proceed at your own risk, as median-income voter backlash might be deadly to their political career prospects.
Who gave Grover Norquist the right to usurp the powers of duly elected representatives? His pledge of "no tax increases" has the effect of nullifying the voting options of legislators throughout the country.
Now Norquist wants to dictate his views to Maine ("Norquist puts down Maine tax-reform package," May 3). I strongly doubt he has any concerns for the future of Maine.
I urge our state legislators and the governor to turn their backs on this unwanted outside influence.
The tax plan would accomplish two important ends.
Most importantly, it would pass some of the tax burden on to out-of-state visitors.
I have marveled at Mainers' willingness to continue subsidizing visitors from wealthier states with low tax rates. Year-round residents keep the state open so that Vacationland will be here after Memorial Day.
Likewise, our income tax structure encourages long-term Mainers to flee to Florida, where they are able to escape this tax. Another subsidy provided by year-round residents.
I am willing to accept some aspects of the tax plan I do not like because the proposed tax plan addresses these issues and offers all residents a fairer and more balanced approach to state taxes.
As a Falmouth resident, I commend Sen. Dick Woodbury for his efforts to help develop the tax proposal.