Governor Paul LePage (R-Maine) is taking no prisoners on the road to zero state income tax. The governor vowed to send back vetoes on every piece of legislation that comes across his desk until Maine’s legislature passes his bill. He sent back 50 vetoes on Monday and Tuesday of this week alone.
LePage wants to do away with income tax in his state; however, he’ll need cooperation from Maine’s legislature. In response to their pushback, the governor has decided to try the route of a citizen’s initiative in order to lower the income tax on the road to fully getting rid of it.
Because eliminating Maine’s income tax would require an amendment to the state constitution approved by the state House and Senate as well as the majority of voters, and the legislature isn’t giving their necessary two-thirds stamp of approval, LePage is postponing his plan to totally cut the income tax. In the meantime, he plans to lower the income tax to 4 percent through a ballot initiative, beginning in September.
“I can’t eliminate it through a people’s initiative, but we can lower it. And I will be doing that,” he said. “And I’m also going to bring back a bill in January to eliminate the income tax again. Since it happens to be an election year, I want in fresh in people’s mind when they go to the polls.”
Getting the initiative on the ballot will be no small feat, though. LePage plans to gather the thousands of signatures necessary to get the measure to a vote by using a town hall-style approach to get his message out, as he did earlier in the year when he was pushing his original tax reform proposals. Though he has a lot of work to do to accomplish his goal, his method of taking his message to the people has had mixed reviews in the past but he believes it can work this time.
Gov. LePage is unwavering in his dedication to lowering and eventually doing away with Maine’s income tax entirely, and rightfully so. Of states levying an individual income tax Maine’s ranks 9th highest in the nation at 7.95 percent, down from 8.5 percent when he signed the largest tax cut in state history in 2011. LePage’s ballot initiative is the necessary next step in allowing the people in Maine to keep more of their hard earned income.