Bangor area residents and community leaders will have a chance to weigh-in on a new tax reform plan announced by top Democratic leaders in the State Legislature.
Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond will hold the first town hall meeting on the Better Deal for Maine plan in Bangor, from 6-7:30 p.m. on April 22, at the Hammond Street Congregational Church (28 High Street). They will be joined by members of the local-area legislative delegation, including State Senators Geoff Gratwick and Jim Dill as well as State Representatives Adam Goode, Victoria Kornfield, Aaron Frey, John Schneck and Arthur “Archie” Verow.
“Maine is at a crossroads. Our economy lags behind the nation and our tax system is rigged for those at the very top. Gov. LePage has proposed a budget that will make it worse. Our plan will make it better,” said Speaker Eves, D-North Berwick. “A Better Deal for Maine grows the economy from the middle out. It rejects the trickle-down economics that have failed us time and time again.”
The leaders announced the Better Deal for Maine plan to counter Gov. Paul LePage’s budget. It cuts taxes for the middle class, lowers property taxes for all Maine homeowners and invests in Maine schools, workers and communities.
“Mainers want a better deal for themselves, a better deal for their communities and a better deal for the economy,” said Senator Alfond, D-Portland. “Our plan ensures more Mainers can keep more of their hard-earned money. It decreases the tax burden on Maine’s working and middle-income earners while asking the wealthy, corporations, and out-of-staters to pay their share.”
According to a new analysis from the national non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) and the Maine Center on Economic Policy, the Better Deal for Maine plan would cut taxes, on average, for the bottom 95 percent of Maine taxpayers. It would provide a larger tax break than the Governor’s plan, on average, for the bottom 80 percent of Maine taxpayers.
The Better Deal for Maine:
Puts more money in the pockets of Maine families: Cuts property taxes by $120 million annually for Maine residents by doubling the Homestead Exemption for all Maine homeowners and by increasing the Property Tax Fairness Credit by more than $57 million per year.
Invests in Maine's future: Bolsters investment in Maine students, workers and seniors. Increases funding for K-12 education by $20 million per year.
Prevents property tax hikes: Increases revenue sharing to $80 million each year for local services like police, fire, and public works, while rejecting the governor’s new taxes on non-profits.
Targets income tax cuts for the middle class: Cuts income taxes by hundreds of dollars for the vast majority of Maine families while asking the wealthiest 5 percent to pay their fair share. Under the Better Deal for Maine, 98 percent of income tax cuts go to the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers. Under the Governor’s plan, 50 percent of the tax break goes to the top 10 percent.
Is fiscally responsible: Unlike the Governor’s budget, the Better Deal for Maine is fully paid for now and into the future. Gov. LePage’s proposal will leave a $300 million hole in the state’s budget starting in 2018.
Democratic leaders will hold a second town hall next week in Scarborough.