All people and communities do better when everyone has the resources they need to prosper and thrive. Decisions about tax policy affect whether we have the resources to keep money flowing to families, towns, and our economy.
Taxes like the income tax, sales tax, and property tax are how we all pitch in to pay for those things that create a better quality of life for all of us: schools, housing, transportation, health care, clean air and water, parks, and family supports like food and child care assistance that make sure nobody gets left behind.
But today, our tax code is not built to ensure prosperity for all Mainers.
Tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy have left the state consistently unable to adequately fund schools and communities, and left other priorities competing against each other for funding. Wasteful tax breaks have allowed profitable corporations to pay less than they should, reducing funding for services that benefit all of us.
The pandemic downturn has revealed the limitations of our inadequate, unequal tax code. But even before COVID, Maine faced hundreds of millions in revenue shortfall in every two-year budget.
Un-rigging our tax code
will ensure all Mainers are paying their fair share, and will secure the resources necessary to fund Maine’s pandemic recovery.
As we work to repair our broken tax code, federal and state tax policies must adhere to five key principles:
Our tax system should ask those who benefit the most from our economy — the wealthiest and profitable corporations — to contribute their fair share.
Our tax system should be simple enough for everyone to understand and for government to enforce. An efficient tax code would prevent complex loopholes that corporations and the wealthy use to rig the tax code in their favor.
Our tax system should raise enough revenue to ensure every Maine community has the resources it needs to thrive.
Our tax system should tear down barriers to racial and gender equity. Policy choices like weakening the estate tax, which primarily benefits white families who historically have been able to accumulate more wealth, should be reversed and tax benefits that fail to recognize unpaid care labor as work should be restructured to eliminate bias against women who are more likely to take on this work.
Our tax system should reflect our democratic values. Corporate lobbyists and the wealthy and well-connected shouldn’t have more power and voice in our policymaking than workers, families, and communities.