National report: Maine’s business tax ranking improves slightly

Posted Oct. 09, 2013, at 10:42 a.m.
Last modified Oct. 09, 2013, at 1:45 p.m.
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WASHINGTON — In a new study, Maine placed 29th out of 50 states for its business tax climate, a slight improvement from last year.

The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation ranked all 50 states for its 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index, which synthesizes data on more than 100 tax provisions in each state into an easy-to-use index score.

Maine’s 29th ranking is a slight improvement from the foundation’s 2013 report, released last October, in which the state ranked 30th. In the 2012 report, Maine ranked 37th on the list.

“It’s encouraging to see the positive movement,” John Butera, Gov. Paul LePage’s senior economic advisor, told the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday. “We would have liked to see more, of course.”

Last year, Gov. LePage said he was pleased with Maine’s dropping ranking on the Tax Foundation’s report, but that his goal would be to see Maine ranked 25th before he leaves office.

LePage has in the past called for the elimination of Maine’s corporate income tax, but Butera said that specific goal won’t necessarily be a priority for the administration during the next session.

“It’s always a priority to make Maine more competitive,” Butera said. “But that comes in different shapes and sizes.”

Maine’s overall rank is a composite of its rankings in each of five major tax categories: corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax and property tax.

For corporate tax, Maine ranked 45th. Maine has a graduated corporate income tax, with rates ranging from 3.5 percent for income up to $25,000 to 8.93 percent for income in excess of $250,000, according to Maine Revenue Services.

For individual income tax, Maine ranked 21st. Maine has a graduated individual income tax, with rates ranging from zero to 7.95 percent.

Maine ranked ninth for sales tax. Maine on Oct. 1 raised its sales tax from 5 percent to 5.5 percent.

For unemployment insurance tax, Maine ranked 33rd, while it ranked 40th for property tax.

“The goal of the State Business Tax Climate Index is to start a conversation with policymakers about how their states fare against the rest of the country,” Scott Drenkard, the Tax Foundation’s economist, said in a statement. “With this report, we’re asking: ‘How well is your tax code structured? Are businesses in your state spending too much time complying with onerous tax provisions? Are you double taxing things you shouldn’t?’”

The top ten states in 2014 are Wyoming at No. 1, followed by South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Florida, Washington, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and Indiana.

The 10 lowest ranked states in 2014 are Maryland at No. 41, followed by Connecticut, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, California, New Jersey and New York.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan research organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.

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