By Former Maine Governor Ken Curtis- this first appeared in Portland Press Herald
Now that repeal of the Maine income tax is being proposed, it might be timely to revisit its history.
In 1969, Maine was facing an almost insurmountable revenue shortfall. As governor, I introduced an income tax as the best solution we could offer. Of all taxes, the income tax was advocated because it was progressive, fair and, most importantly, based on ability to pay.
The successful legislation was bipartisan, supported by a Democratic governor, a majority Republican Legislature and drafted by a Republican legislative leader, who offered an improved bill.
Maine people concurred by supporting an initiative referendum to retain this new tax by more than a 3-to-1 majority: 190,229 to 63,403. Maine’s tradition for caring people was at its best when many of its wealthiest gave their support.
As a result, essential services were preserved and expanded, as well as subsequently reducing the property tax. Forty-five years ago, we realized that raising and expanding all other taxes would not equal revenues generated by the income tax.
While I have no interest in entering into a dialogue with the current governor, Maine people are welcome to compare the record and conduct of my administration with his at any time.
Kenneth M. Curtis
former governor of Maine