LePage’s tax proposals prompt local discussion

Maine’s notoriously bold governor has recently proposed a tax policy that would directly influence Colby’s tax burden in the future. LePage believes that nonprofit organizations should bear more of a tax burden in Maine, characterizing non-profits as often being more of “takers than givers”.

Along with the proposed increase in taxes to larger nonprofits, LePage looks to rely more heavily on hiked up sales taxes. If these taxes don’t curb demand for Maine’s tourist attractions over warmer months, the state could see higher government returns from the state’s strong tourism industry—an approach that would be well received across the political spectrum.

Main residents are concerned that LePage’s efforts will attract big business and a wealthier demographic to the state. Income tax cuts would boost Maine to a more competitive position to build businesses, but on a short term scale, increasing sales tax could negatively impact tourism related sales, as well the large population of low-income families and communities within the state.

Negotiations with democrats will only occur if LePage is willing to budge towards a plan that promotes short term relief for low and middle income Mainers. In addition, they expect a gradual transition into possible taxation of nonprofits following comprehensive evaluation of the positive effects of income tax cuts on Maine’s businesses and economy.

Tax policy has notoriously moved at a snail’s pace due to complexity and rivaling views, and in this case perhaps slow movement is the key to success. For the policy to pass, democrats require revisions, whether that means regionalizing some tax structures and benefits, or neglecting the idea of non-profit taxation. Maine is scattered with non-profits, which will mean some communities would see no benefits from the new proposal’s implementation. Some towns like Millinocket, the economy of which relies on large non-profit employers like the Millinocket Regional Hospital, will surely see tangible losses in jobs and economic activity.

LePage has already gained national attention for his proposal and is likely to see a huge pushback from the possibility of this policy leaking into other states.

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