May 21, 2018
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No on Question 1 rejects people’s veto on tax change

By Nancy Kelleher, Special to the BDN

On June 8, Mainers will go to the polls to decide on their party’s candidate for governor, and to make decisions on a number of state investment projects and local issues. At the same time, Maine voters of all political stripes will have the opportunity to reject a people’s veto of a new state law that reduced income taxes for 95 percent of Mainers and provides new tax benefits for senior citizens and low-income Maine people.

A no vote on Question 1 will allow that new law to go into effect and begin working for Maine people.

AARP firmly supports a no vote on Question 1.

Sometimes the very best work is accomplished under the worst circumstances. Considering the international financial meltdown that our state and national economies are only beginning to show signs of recovering from, the fact that LD 1495 passed through the state Legislature was no less than miraculous.

Maine has been fiscally prudent during the last several years. The state has cut government jobs and it is now looking to reduce the overall tax burden on its residents unlike states that have been forced into raising taxes.

LD 1495 creates a new refundable tax credit for Maine’s low-income residents and develops a new elderly tax credit as part of an overhaul of our state’s tax code that will lower taxes for Mainers of all incomes while helping our state’s economy grow.

AARP supports a no vote on Question 1 in June because Maine’s entire population — not just our elderly — will lose out if the law is repealed. Maine Revenue Services calculates that if the yes vote prevails, more than 95 percent of Mainers will lose the income tax reduction. Nearly 90 percent of all Mainers will lose the over-all tax reduction after all tax changes go into effect. And more than $50 million in tax burden that would have been exported to people from out of state will fall directly back on our shoulders.

Unfortunately, supporters of the yes vote have put out information that is not only misleading but factually wrong. The truth is the law creates a tax refund for the majority of people in the state — elderly, low income and just about all of us.

AARP believes that the defeat of Question 1 is far too important and we are concerned that our membership is receiving messages that are not true and designed to frighten them into voting yes.

The facts on the no side have been certified by the nonpartisan Maine Revenue Services and supported by economists, advocates for the elderly and poor, the largest chambers of commerce in the state, progressives, conservatives and real, average Republicans and Democrats across the state.

LD 1495 is good for Maine, and the effort to repeal it should be rejected. On June 8, vote no on Question 1.

Nancy Kelleher is the director of AARP Maine.

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