The Maine People’s Alliance is proposing a 12.4 percent tax on anyone who makes more than $118,000. They believe Maine taxpayers should foot the bill for universal child and elder care as well as family leave compensation.

The major problem is that those targeted by the these “tax-the-rich” proposals have a choice. They can leave. In fact, Maine’s high taxes have been driving people away for many years. A former Maine governor now lives in Florida. A former candidate for governor lives in Texas. Both states have no income tax.

I believe this latest proposal, if passed, will create a bottleneck at the Kittery tolls as people quietly leave the lunacy behind. There are 16,000 tax filers in Maine whose incomes exceed $200,000, but 11,000 of those are family businesses – employers who rely on their annual income to invest back into their businesses, hire new people, make charitable contributions and save for the rainy day that visits everyone who ever took a chance on starting a business in Maine.

What the MPA and their allies in the Legislature will never understand is that once people leave for tax purposes, they won’t come back. Instead of Maine collecting some taxes, the state will lose 100 percent of that taxable income to other states.

Legislators are being asked to repeal the current 3 percent tax surcharge and find a fairer way to increase teacher salaries and benefits. With this latest assault on the wallets of Maine people, the urgency to forge a sensible and affordable tax policy in Maine is long overdue. It’s time for us all to ask our state legislators to repeal the 3 percent tax, to form a blue ribbon commission to tackle the question of sustainable taxation and to make it far more difficult to get a referendum question on the ballot.

Tony Payne