Excise tax shouldn’t be based on MSRP

When we buy a new or used vehicle, we pay the sales tax on the “bill of sale” amount. When we go to the local town or city to register the vehicle, the law requires that we pay the “excise tax” on the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) or original window sticker price. In last Sunday’s paper, new vehicles were advertised for anywhere between $1,000 to $8,000 below the MSRP price. That’s an extra $192 on $8,000 to register that vehicle. Yet, we don’t pay the sales tax on the extra $8,000.

Every time we re-register the vehicle annually, even though the excise tax rate drops, the rate is still always based on the original MSRP, or sticker price. I just bought a 21-year-old vehicle for $2,200. I paid the sales tax on $2,200 but had to pay the excise tax on the MSRP 21 years ago, which was more than $20,000. I think that you will all agree that isn’t right.

This can only be corrected by the Legislature. There is a bill in the current session of the Legislature, L.D. 94, to correct this inequity. In past attempts to correct this problem, the Maine Municipal Association, a very powerful lobby for the towns and cities, has lobbied successfully to defeat those bills. They claim that the towns will lose tax revenue and will have to increase taxes. Of course, the towns will lose revenue because they have been used to collecting a tax on money that us citizens never spent. Do they have to increase taxes? Not if they reduce spending.

I submit that neither one of those reasons is justification for requiring us citizens to pay an excise tax on money that we never spent. If you agree, it’s critical that you contact both your local state representative and senator and ask that they support L.D. 94.

David Kent



It’s time for Windham to withdraw

Last Wednesday, March 25, I witnessed something that I almost still cannot believe happened. This was the day the RSU 14 School Board helped 167 citizens of Raymond raise the tax bill of every single Windham property owner without due process.

You may or may not know that RSU 14, a non-town entity, controls the majority of the tax revenue collected in town. The school mill rate for 2014 at 9.53, Municipal mill rate at 4.50 and County at .64 gives RSU 14 control over 65 percent of your taxes. So why am I so outraged? The school board manipulated the system to allow Raymond residents to raise your taxes in a one-time vote at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. At this meeting, prior to the vote, I asked why the board was not holding an all-day voting session that you might get with local, state or federal elections and the answer was simply they had the option to but chose not to. RSU 14 chose NOT to give the residents of Windham and Raymond time to represent themselves properly and fairly and held a vote in the middle of the week when most working folks are driving home or fixing our kids’ dinner. Instead, 167 Raymond residents showed up, all driven by their coalition to lower their taxes, and 30 Windham residents were there.

RSU 14 did not think that the possibility of raising property taxes for every Windham property owner was worth fair representation by Windham. Because of this, I am urging all concerned citizens to join me in exploring a coalition to remove Windham from RSU 14. It’s time for Windham residents to once again control Windham taxes. Windham was not required to join in the school consolidation and we don’t have to be part of it now. I say it’s time we represent ourselves and let town entities control our town, not a minority of our neighbors.

I also urge you to tell RSU 14 and the Windham Town Council how you feel about what happened.


David Douglass


I love my country

I am a four-year U.S. Navy veteran serving in the Korean War, and one of many thousands of Maine veterans.

Being in foreign ports and returning to the good old U.S.A., I would say to myself “Thank God I’m an American and live in America.”

Gerry Vigue


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