The Maine Legislature’s Taxation Committee will consider four different bills
Wednesday that could increase the sales tax on Maine people, but apply the tax
at the local level instead of raising the state sales tax rate.
bills are sponsored by Democrats serving in the Maine Legislature.
This bill would
allow cities and towns to impose a local sales tax if the city or town puts the
question to voters with certain information and it is approved. The funds would
be sent to the state and then returned, minus administrative costs, to the
municipality. The sales tax could be seasonal, or year-round.
This bill would
allow Maine’s ‘service center communities’ to impose a 1% local sales tax to
pay for municipal infrastructure costs. This bill also would require the sales
tax be approved by a referendum. About 70 municipalities would be eligible to impose
this sales tax based on their service center designation. These municipalities
are generally municipalities with a larger populations and a mix of publicly
available services. The funds would be sent to the state of Maine and then returned,
minus administrative costs, to the municipality.
This bill has no cosponsors, only the primary sponsor, Sen. Miramant.
would allow municipalities to impose an additional 1% sales tax on top of the
existing 9% Maine lodging tax. The funds would be sent to the state and then
returned, minus administrative costs, to the municipality.
would allow municipalities to impose a local sales tax if approved by
referendum, with certain information provided to the voters. The funds would be
sent to the state and then returned, minus administrative costs, to the municipality.
has nine cosponsors, all Democrats.
Many tax policy groups say local sales taxes such as those being considered are actually the most regressive type of tax, because the only people who can’t escape paying them are those without the means to travel and make purchases at a lower cost – while taxpayers of greater means can simply go make the purchase in a community that doesn’t have a local sales tax.
But lawmakers who want to extract more revenue from taxpayers despite Maine’s record levels of revenue and surplus funds can attempt to justify the tax by pointing to the fact that Maine’s sales tax is among the lowest in the nation. According to the Tax Foundation, Maine ranks 42nd in the nation for sales tax, at 5.5%.