PORTLAND — Gov. Paul LePage came out against the recent tax reform package proposed by the “Gang of 11,” calling it a “bad deal,” at a Wednesday morning chamber of commerce event in Portland.

A bipartisan group of 11 legislators last Wednesday introduced a tax reform package that proposes to overhaul Maine’s tax code by lowering individual and corporate income taxes and eliminating the estate tax. The package makes up for much of the lost revenue by extending the sales tax to nearly all products and services and eliminating nearly all exemptions.

“It could have been a good deal. They just went too far,” LePage said. “I think when you have per capita income of $38,000, you cannot go out there and put a sales tax on everybody’s food.”

He said, however, that he believes “conceptually” in where the legislators are going. “I think the income tax is a very regressive tax that needs to be eliminated, but before you go and put a sales tax on everything you ought to concentrate on improving your economy.”

Chris Hall, CEO of the Portland Regional Chamber, asked LePage about it at the chamber’s monthly Eggs & Issues breakfast event.

When asked if he plans to run for governor again, LePage said “the likelihood is yes,” though he said later his comments are not an official declaration.

Highlights of “An Act to Modernize and Simplify Maine’s Tax Code:”

* Creates a flat, 4 percent income-tax rate for all taxpayers.

* Reduces the corporate income-tax rate from 8.93 percent to 7.5 percent.

* Increases the state’s sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent.

* Expands sales tax to include almost all consumer purchases, including groceries and heating fuel.

* Creates a tax fairness credit that allows an up to $1,000 refundable sales-tax credit for low-income families.

* Increases the state’s Homestead Exemption to $50,000.

* Eliminates the estate tax. 

* Increases funding for tourism promotion from $10 million per year to $16 million per year.

* Creates a sales-tax collector fee of  0.5 percent to compensate businesses that collect sales taxes on behalf of the state.

Douglas Rooks: Tax reform plan deserves serious consideration


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