LaMarche proposes tax change


PORTLAND (AP) – The gubernatorial nominee of Maine’s Green Independent Party has proposed seasonal increases in the state sales tax as a way to shift more of the tax burden onto summer tourists.

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth said year-round residents would adapt to the change by purchasing big items at times other than tourist season.

“The locals will know when to buy their cars,” she said.

In a speech Saturday to the Greens’ annual convention, LaMarche also criticized the Maine Department of Education’s decision to replace state educational assessment tests with the SAT.

LaMarche said federal figures show that Arkansas, where fewer than 10 percent of students take the college-entrance examination, has a higher rate of young adults with bachelor’s degrees than Maine, where about three-fourths take the test.

“You don’t need the SAT to be a plumber or an electrician,” she said, citing Maine’s need for more jobs that pay middle-class wages.

LaMarche also blasted the Baldacci administration for exiting the profitable liquor business, allowing the state tourism office to hire an out-of-state advertising firm to promote Maine and for backing the burning of construction waste to generate electricity.

The two-day convention at the Center for Cultural Exchange in Portland included the election of the Green party’s first board of directors, a six-member panel with an executive director that replaces a 13-member steering committee.

Morgen D’Arc of Portland, a national party fundraiser who voted in favor of the change, said the restructuring will provide the party with more focus and better fundraising campaigns.