Below is ATR’s press release celebrating the repeal of a multi-million dollar tax hike on soda, alcohol, and insurance in Maine.
On November 4, Mainers voted by a near 65-35 margin to pass Question 1, repealing a $77 million tax on soft drinks, beer, wine, and health insurance claims. The tax, passed by the state legislature earlier this year, was slated to raise money for Dirigo Health, the state’s government-run health insurance program.
If Question 1 had failed, the tax hike would have added 24-cents to a six-pack of soda, 7-cents to a bottle of wine, and 16-cents to a six-pack of beer in Maine. The taxes would have also placed a 1.8% fee on all insurance claims. The Center for Fiscal Accountability and Americans for Tax Reform have calculated that after accounting for various excise taxes, corporate income taxes, and other federal, state and local taxes, consumers across the country already spend 37.6% of the cost of soda and 56.2% of the cost of beer paying for government taxes and fees.
“The overwhelming turnout of Maine voters to pass Question 1 and repeal the Dirigo tax is a huge victory for consumers and a crushing defeat for Governor Baldacci and the Democrat state legislature that tried to pile $77 million in new taxes onto Maine residents,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
When launched in 2005, the Dirigo Health insurance program was projected to cover nearly 128,000 Maine residents by 2009; however, the program is currently covering less than 12,000 individuals. To increase funding, the Democrat-controlled state legislature passed the Dirigo tax hike last spring with little public knowledge or discussion. Following a citizen petition by the Fed Up With Taxes coalition, the tax was put on hold pending the results of the November 4 vote.
“The passage of Question 1 is not just a clear message that taxes on Maine consumers are too high, but also a referendum on the state’s Dirigo health program,” added Norquist. “Mainers realize that the state’s attempt at big-government health insurance has failed miserably and they are simply not willing to foot the bill for it. Governor Baldacci and state lawmakers should take note that higher taxes for the purpose of state-run health insurance simply does not fly in the Pine Tree State.”
Click here for a PDF version of the press release.