In Support of Eliminating the Maine Income Tax

My name is Aaron Chadbourne. I am a Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor and I am here today to testify in support of LD 1367 “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Eliminate the Income Tax.”

Today is a historic day. We are here to talk about an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Maine. It’s something that has been done over a hundred times in the past and something that should never be done lightly, so I would like to thank the Committee for your consideration today and urge a unanimous Ought to Pass report to send the proposed Constitutional amendment to the voters of Maine.

When Governor LePage was sworn into office in January, he reaffirmed that his long term vision is simple: It’s Maine without an income tax. Today, it is an honor to be here advocating for another step forward toward the Governor’s vision and ask for the legislature’s help in letting Maine people decide for themselves whether it’s finally time to eliminate the State of Maine’s income tax once and for all.

Let me be clear – this effort did not begin with the Governor’s second term. As you’ll recall, in 2011 the Governor proposed and the legislature enacted the largest tax cut in Maine history, lowering Maine’s top income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 7.95 percent and eliminating the income tax liability of 70,000 low-income Mainers. In the biennial budget proposed earlier this session, Governor LePage took the next step in requesting the legislature continue to phase out the income tax by lowering the top marginal tax rate to 5.75 percent – the lowest rate since Maine established its income – tax and proposing the state remove the burden of the income tax from an additional 60,000 low income Mainers. The Governor has repeatedly said publicly that his goal is to achieve reduction in the top marginal tax rate to 4 percent by the end of his second term and have a firm date set for the elimination of the state income tax – a tax that penalizes work, investment, and economic growth in the State of Maine. So as we talk about the proposal and the timeline, I’d like to remind the Committee that this is a nearly decade-long journey we’ve embarked on, to go from 8.5 percent top marginal tax rate in 2010 to 0 percent by 2020. For those who would compare the Governor’s plan to what happened in Kansas, I’d ask you to take another look at the way that the Governor has consistently taken a responsible, measured, balanced approach to phasing out the State’s income tax.

There are three messages that I would like to stress during my remaining time before you today. First, Maine is not competitive. Second, it is time for bold action – we can’t rely on the status quo to promote prosperity in Maine. Third, and finally, we should let the people of Maine decide how they want to be taxed.