LePage vows more tax cuts

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage says the improvement in Maine’s business tax climate as measured by the Tax Foundation is only the beginning. He will propose further tax cuts, including the elimination of the corporate income tax to spur job growth in the state.

Paul LePage
Pat Wellenbach

Paul LePage 

“We are moving in the right direction and I am pleased to see it,” he said in an interview. “In my mind, it’s so far away from where we need to be, it’s really symbolic.”

LePage said he wants to be in the “middle of the pack” when it comes to the overall tax burden.

The Tax Foundation released its State Business Tax Climate Index this week moving Maine from 37th in the nation to 30th. But, LePage said, overall Maine’s tax burden is ninth highest among the states and that has to be lowered for the state to compete with what he calls the prosperous states.

“I think the state of Maine should have no corporate tax at all and that the United States of America should be around twenty percent, “he said, “then we could compete world wide.”

LePage said it is a global marketplace and Maine needs the federal government to adopt tax policies that encourage growth and that state changes are not enough. He said the Tax Foundation ranking next year should improve again with the further tax reductions that take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

“Maine had the most sizable rank improvement this year, as a repeal of the alternative minimum tax and a change in treatment of net operating losses launched the state from 37th to 30th best overall,” the report stated.

The Index compares all of the states in five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes; individual income taxes; sales taxes; unemployment insurance taxes; and taxes on property, including residential and commercial property.

“In the corporate income tax code, a temporary ban on net operating loss carry forwards expired, returning Maine to the widely used standard of allowing such carry forwards for up to 20 years,” the report stated.

LePage said he made it clear when he proposed the tax changes after his election that they were only a beginning. He said he is looking at several tax cut proposals as part of the two year budget he will submit in January, but has not decided which reductions to propose.

“They (Maine Revenue Services) are giving me a whole lot of different proposals, what ifs,” he said, “we are looking to see how they all would fit into the bigger picture.”

The bigger picture is the new zero based budgeting process that is still underway and what savings it may yield. Another issue is the structural budget gap of $756 million the state is facing and how the Governor proposes to resolve that.

The Governor’s promise of further tax cut proposals and elimination of the corporate income tax brought a sharp response from Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, the lead democrat on the Taxation Committee.

“The direction that the Governor is taking our tax code in takes money out of the pockets of the middle class and that is my great concern and that of most democrats,” he said.

Berry said for the state to see its economy grow, the incomes of the middle class need to increase. He said the focus of any tax reductions should be on the middle class, not corporations and the wealthy.

Rep. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, the co-chairman of the Tax Committee said the Governor is on the right track to propose further tax reductions. He said the challenge will be how to pay for any of the tax reductions in a sluggish economy.

“I am hopeful in the next two years we can come out with a package that Mainers can accept,” he said. “I am an optimist; I think we can find something that works by working across the aisle with both parties.”

Knight said as in the tax cut package that was passed during the current session, there will have to be compromises and a realization that all the goals may not be achievable in a single legislative session.

“To really claim that I was successful as a governor is to leave this office having Maine’s taxes at 25th in the nation,” LePage said.

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 's picture

LePage says...

...more tax cuts...for the wealthy.

“I think the state of Maine should have no corporate tax at all..."

RONALD RIML's picture

"Corporation" consider themselves 'People' too.....???

Then quit weaseling around and pay your damn taxes like the rest of us.

No taxes? Then STFU!


Some success

So the corporations are happy with the governor's tax cuts. Well some other folks are not so happy. Maine is the only New England state which is not climbing out of the recession. We are one of 5 states in the nation at risk of falling deeper into recession. When asked about this Jim Nutting says it is due to the base closing in Brunswick. Well who is sitting on the bond money voted in by the tax payers to develop jobs in Brunswick until after the election ? The rest of the nation is seeing improving jobs, housing and unemployment figures. We are stuck in LePage mire. You would think someone whose budgets is still millions of dollars in the red would know better than to be talking more tax cuts for the rich. When he does leave the joyfulness will not be because of his success but because of his leaving.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

This guy never stops....

As usual LePage, who likes to sound like he actually believes his own sputter, is at it again. He loves throwing around big words, they sound very political. As anyone with even the slightest ability to thread three words with three or more syllables together, and still understand their meaning knows, You don't get nothin for nothin. In order to accomplish his pipe dreams, they have to be financed. That is money that needs to come from someplace. Seeing 's how the State is broke, and corporations aren't willing to pay their fair share, and the target of these tax cuts is small business, who's left?
At this point in time, get up, go to the bathroom, look in that shiny thing over the sink. Looking back at you is the person Republicans want to finance all their fantasies. Even if your not paying income taxes now, you'll be paying more when all the deductions the everyday people have now, and count on, are gone. Its all in the Republican script. If you feel your needy now, just wait until they take the rest of your money. As for LePage leaving office as a success, he just needs to leave. ASAP........

Jim Cyr's picture

HIS pipe dream ??

Do you mean more people pushing the cart then riding ?? Smaller government and more people relying on them selves and making government less intrusive and less burdensome on Free Enterprise ?? Is that what you call " Republican fantasies ". These should be the goals of all it's citizens. Do you really think the State became broke on his watch ?? Drinking the Kool-Aid again have you ?? Mr. Earley, we have a spending problem and stealing more precious revenues from those that have earned their wealth will never balance the budget. The State will never steal enough of our hard earned fruits from our labor to balance their waste.

 's picture

That's it?

“To really claim that I was successful as a governor is to leave this office having Maine’s taxes at 25th in the nation,” LePage said. Just ignore the shrinking Maine economy, and rising unemployment.


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