February 3

Letter to the editor: Revenue sharing no good for cutting property taxes

Wow! The revenue sharing editorial (“Our View: Cuts to revenue sharing force local tax hikes,” Jan. 24) strikes hot issues; for me, it’s the subsidizing of nonresident property taxes.

And while the Legislature may not agree, it actually provides subsidies when “revenue sharing” with the communities. How? State tax revenue is passed to communities, which use the money to lower property taxes and thus subsidize the nonresidents’ taxes.

The state’s citizens are caught in this dilemma: Communities strive to keep property taxes low for their constituents. But the nonresident enjoys the fruits of their efforts while not contributing to the’ state income tax revenues – federal law prevents it.

The communities have no taxing authority to address this dilemma. It is strictly a legislative issue and amounts to millions of dollars when you consider the two major state tax revenue categories, income and excise. Talk about shooting ourselves collectively in the foot.

One suggestion is for the Legislature to link property and income taxes. They would assess a property tax and immediately issue an income tax credit of equal value to the resident property owner.

It’s convoluted but should address the federal rules preventing nonresidents from contributing to state income taxes; others may have better solutions. The newly assessed tax should equal the amount paid by the median individual taxpayer.

This issue is nonpartisan. How is it not? It would seem that our legislative leadership, Reps. Mark Eves and Ken Fredette and Sens. Justin Alfond and Mike Thibodeau, could find common ground here. It will take their Legislature to provide the necessary legal tools to solve this dilemma.

I don’t mind paying taxes as long as they support our necessary programs and are well managed. In my opinion, subsidizing nonresident property taxes through “revenue sharing” meets neither my nor any other citizen’s criteria of a tax resource being well managed.

Stephen Gorden

North Yarmouth

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