Maine climbs up the list of high-tax states

Yahoo! Maine has moved from the seventh highest income tax rate in the country to sixth. If we try hard, maybe we can... dare we say? ... be number one!

But don't blame this latest indignity on Tuesday's rejection of a 2-percent income tax rate cut approved in 2009 by the legislature.

That would have dropped us way down to 25th on the list of states, but it's not what pushed us up the list.

So, how did it happen?

Simple. Rhode Island moved down. Way down.

Last Friday, the General Assembly there "unanimously approved the most sweeping changes to the state's personal income-tax system in nearly 40 years," according to the Providence Journal.

Hey, wasn't that what we were saying last year about our tax-reform plan?

Rhode Island was a bit more ambitious in its tax cutting. Its top rate will go from 9.9 percent to 5.99 percent, a nearly 4 percent cut.

Maine was only trying to muster a 2 percent reduction, from 8.5 percent to 6.5.

Rhode Island is now 25th among the states, about where we would have been had not voters repealed tax reform Tuesday.

Now Rhode Island is doing all the crowing, and you can practically hear it from here.

"This is the moment that we can change our reputation as a high-tax state," the Journal quoted House Finance Chairman Steven M. Costantino as saying.

"Let's tell our neighbors, 'We are ready to do business.' "

Hey, but it was our idea first!

Bragged State Rep. Helio Melo, this tax overhaul "will basically put us back on the competitive map."

Yea, yea.

Said State Sen. Daniel DaPonte, lower taxes will send a message to "out-of-state entrepreneurs that Rhode Island welcomes them."

OK, already.

Those Rhode Islanders really know how it rub it in.

But, really, our plan was better. In the Ocean State, only 60 percent of the state's residents were projected to see an income tax cut. In Maine, that was upwards of 90 percent.

The strength of Maine's plan was that it passed an estimated $400 million worth of sales, lodging and restaurant taxes to out-of-state visitors.

Now, after Tuesday's vote, we are free to pay those taxes ourselves, while continuing to offer our visitors some of the lowest such taxes in New England.

Unfortunately, tax reform was complicated and the issue easily manipulated. It's hard to argue facts with the TV image of a man secretly stuffing money into his suit pockets.

In fact, the nonpartisan analysis done by the Maine Revenue Service showed that the lowest-income Mainers had the most to gain from tax reform.

Now, as they say, the people have spoken. We've spoken up for higher taxes.

And in 10 years, another generation will wonder why nearly every other state pays lower income rates.

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PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"It was lies that killed this

"It was lies that killed this reform package."
dlaurels is absolutely right on this. It was the democrat lies that killed it, because the voters were able to see THROUGH the lies and repeal that sloppy piece of legislation.
Great job of picking up on that, dl..

Doreen Sheive's picture


It was a big mistake to veto the tax reform package. It was the lies that killed this reform package. I really am beginning to wonder who can afford to live in this state.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"you've hoodwink all the

"you've hoodwink all the voters before revealing your plan."
"You have to pass the bill in order to find out what's in it." Nancy Pelosi.
Get the picture, T?

Bob Wright's picture

Tron wrote: so now it's up to

Tron wrote: so now it's up to the right wing wackos to submit their own plan for tax reform.

We will Tron, shortly after the November elections. ;-)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You completely overlook the

You completely overlook the tax rate reduction was to be neutralized by the inclusion of some 100 extra items to be taxable whereas they had previously not been. Your posts are totally devoid of fact.

Bob Wright's picture

Tron wrote: The YES side

Tron wrote: The YES side blanketed the state with lies so often, that even they believed it.

Tron, the no on 1 side stated that if the yes side won, income taxes would raised 30%, is that not a lie?

Bob Wright's picture

Question 1 stopped a tax

Question 1 stopped a tax shift, not a tax reduction. Maine people were smart enough to see this. Now is the time to start from scratch and introduce real tax reform, not tax shifting!

Leonard Hoy's picture

Speaking Up For Higher Taxes?

The Journal applies a false dichotomy here: voters either embraced the new tax configurations or declared their love of high income tax rates. Not so. I think things were much more interesting and much more complicated. My own vote to repeal reflected my complete lack of trust in the people running our one-party state. Given a rich new assortment of taxes, our Democrats would ramp each in turn up to the max to pay for their purchase of voters by feeding entitlement groups at the public trough. I also voted against every un-prioritized bond issue, even those that might arguably 'pay off'.

Right wing whacko that I be, I want the focus in Augusta to center on reduced spending. I want to see a legislative culture that earns my trust with a pattern of pro-business legislation and with a demonstrated knack for program pruning and program accountability. I want the bureaucracy to shrink and the private sector encouraged to grow. Yeah-open the state for business!

The tax configuration and schedule that such a government presents would at least get a second look based on my respect for their intentions. Democrats intend to spend us into oblivion with government largesse that, of course, demands confiscatory levels of taxation. Having a cornucopia of taxes to fiddle with simply begs for Democrat mischief. I simply do not trust anything they propose at this point!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Have Maine voters ever

Have Maine voters ever actually seen a bond issue they DIDN'T like?

 's picture

Anyone who truly believes

Anyone who truly believes that the tax and spend liberals in the Democratic party have the peoples interests in mind are beyond help. You just cannot fix STUPID!

Ed Enos's picture

That's interesting, Rino,

That's interesting, Rino, about the ski industry and they also forgot about golf courses. Maybe tourists don't ski or golf in Maine?!


why do people want to live in Maine? I just can't understand it....High tax and low income

PAUL ST JEAN's picture



PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Spam???? What do you mean,

Spam???? What do you mean, Spam?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

While Frank Sinatra sings,

While Frank Sinatra sings, "Stormy Weather", the flies and the spiders get along together.

RONALD RIML's picture

As you say - "I just can't understand it"

But many of us DO understand it.

It's worth the little extra we spend in taxes to live in one of the safest states in the country, surrounded by pristine, natural beauty. I love the idea that I'm close to the ocean, very far away from McDonalds or any other 'plastic chain junk food store' - and I know most of my neighbors, and they know me. It's not for everyone, Thank God, and that's why they're not here. It's kind of quirky, and I've got friends who live in gadzillion dollar properties next to other friends who live in trailers. And they're pretty much on first name basis if they want to get anything done.

RONALD RIML's picture

Nineteen miles doesn't exactly make the Clown....

Nineteen miles doesn't exactly make the Clown a "Fast Food Joint"

When I have a 'General Store' two blocks away. And they sell pizza, beer, and wine - along with gourmet sandwiches..

Or I can walk half a block to Lobsterman's Wharf.

But reckon you have your own 'comfort level'

RONALD RIML's picture

There's perspective - and perspective....

Rob - You no doubt strike me as the type who would find great value in driving nineteen miles for a Mickie-D's cholesterol-burger....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Where is this place, Veritas?

Where is this place, Veritas? The Pirate would like to check out the "gourmet sandwich" menu.

RONALD RIML's picture


PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Thank you; and the parrot

Thank you; and the parrot thanks you. His penchant for gourmet sandwiches is not easily sated.

RONALD RIML's picture

East Boothbay General Store

East Boothbay General Store

- Not at all to be confused with touristy Boothbay Harbor

Melissa  Dunn's picture

like it matters???

like it matters???

RONALD RIML's picture

I see dogs matter to you.

I've been places where I had to make a concerted effort to make sure I wasn't eating 'Dog'.

You really need to get out more often, Ms. Dunn - and see what the real world is all about.

Melissa  Dunn's picture

its pretty comical that you

its pretty comical that you don't want to be associated with 'dog' food, but then you act pretty childish on sj on the constant... what does it matter? who cares where you live and what you eat? are we suppose to be moved by it? infatuated by it? what? i don't get it...

look i have expensive taste but i don't go bragging about it. i don't feel that i have anything to prove to anyone else for that matter... so why does it matter?

furthermore-never said anything about you being a townie... i could care less. have a decent, educated, respectful conversation for once.

RONALD RIML's picture

It mattered enough to you to think I was a 'Townie'

It mattered enough to you to think I was a 'Townie'

At your tender age and limited life experience, you only imagine what does and doesn't matter.

RONALD RIML's picture

How much money you want to lay on that.....???

How much money you want to lay on that.....???

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Veritas makes good points.

Veritas makes good points. However....(fill in the blanks)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The Pirate could support your

The Pirate could support your premise, Rino

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Good post, TMan

Good post, TMan

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

First of all, only an idiot

First of all, only an idiot calls another person he doesn't even know an idiot. Now that we've established your level of competency, in answer to your reference of my $100,000 paycheck; When did I take a pay cut?

Bob Woodbury's picture

Nice try, Pirate

But us Maine suckers see right through you. Us Maine suckers will be sending more money to Augusta this year, and so will you. Your left wing wacko vote cost us all money we could have had in our pockets. Thanks, idiot. Sock away most of your $100,000 paycheck and leave us poor folks in peace.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"The strength of Maine's plan

"The strength of Maine's plan was that it passed an estimated $400 million worth of sales, lodging, and restaurant taxes to out-of-state visitiors. "
Sure, for 4 or 5 months; and then we Maine suckers woud bear the additional taxes for the remainder of the year. The SJ editorial writer failed to mention in his/her whine-fest that, although Rhode Island's income tax cut would affect only 60% of taxpayers as opposed to Maine's 90%, Rhode Island's scenario did not engage in the shuffleboard game of adding 102 new items to the sales tax as Maine's did.
Nice try, but fortunately, in a rare display of insight, Maine voters saw right trough Augusta's little sham. Tax reform my eye; You wanna cut the State income tax from 8.5% to 6.5%? Have at it, but couple it with SPENDING reform instead of another shell game, which our legislators in Augusta have elevated to an art form.

RONALD RIML's picture


That one could no longer utilize deductions for mortgage interest and real estate taxes. (Rob - you spread that)

That over one hundred 'New' taxes were created - when it was the same old sales tax, with less loop-holes


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