How do you spell real relief?

AUGUSTA : Toward the end of the legislative session, a complicated tax-shift proposal was exposed to the people of Maine.

Taxation Committee members spent months crafting the plan, which they alleged would have provided a tax reduction for some Maine families. When details of the plan were finally released in June, committee members expected high-fives and pats on the back for their work. Instead, they were met with public outcry. Their plan was not going to provide the real tax relief Mainers demanded.

Taxation Committee members maintain their proposal would have reduced the tax burden on some Maine families. Their plan called for some reductions in the state income tax and increased funding for the homestead exemption and circuit breaker program. To fund these reductions, however, all Mainers would be subjected to a massive expansion of the state sales tax to include services like haircuts, snowplowing and gym memberships; increases in the meals, lodging, snack, beer, wine and real estate transfer taxes; and the elimination of all tax deductions.

Using the committee’s own numbers, thousands of Mainers would actually have seen a tax increase. This plan would have simply created new winners and new losers in a game of “tax reform.”

Real tax relief must be for all Maine taxpayers. The committee’s tax-shift plan is not real tax relief.

If the Taxation Committee devoted five months to developing a plan to actually provide tax relief — working alongside the Appropriations Committee — we might have had some meaningful tax reductions to show for it.

Although the Taxation Committee’s proposal was ultimately killed in the Legislature, committee members are still out in full force peddling their tax-shift plan.

You can be sure another tax-shift proposal is on the horizon. To combat this, Maine’s legislators must be committed to providing real and tangible tax relief.

Maine’s citizens must continue demanding a reduction in our tax burden. Maine’s business community must remain out front in its opposition to tax shifts. We cannot allow ourselves to become distracted from achieving our goal.

Real tax relief is what you demanded. Real tax relief is what you deserve…

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