Maine’s property-tax system inequitable, unfair


Regarding Albert DiMillo Jr.’s column “Tax reform can’t be distinct from spending cuts” (Sept. 11), I agree that the threshold of the top income tax bracket should be increased from the current level.

Consideration should be given to change the income levels on the other brackets, and all brackets should be indexed for inflation or adjusted every few years.

I disagree with his comparison of New Hampshire and Maine property taxes. It is not a valid comparison, because New Hampshire does not have a sales or income tax. Therefore, property taxes are higher there.

I do believe our current system of levying property tax to be inequitable and unfair. Property taxes are based on a current evaluation, even though a long-term resident may not be able afford to purchase his/her home at the current market price.

A more equitable system would be to allow the property tax to increase at a rate no greater than inflation and then make an assessment on the profit at the time the property is sold. This would be similar to current tax practice on the sale of shares of stock.

The third component of true tax reform would be to eliminate many of the sales-tax exemptions and to decrease the sales-tax rate. A large percentage of the sales tax is from the sale of automobiles and high-priced items.

During an economic slowdown, the sales of these items decrease, causing a disproportionate decrease in sales-tax revenues. Broadening the sales-tax base will minimize this impact.

Stan Tetenman, Blethen Maine Newspapers


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