House votes down Gov. LePage’s tax cut for the super wealthy

House votes down Gov. LePage’s tax cut for the super wealthy

On a 77-65 party-line vote on Tuesday, the Democratically-controlled Maine House voted down Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to eliminate the estate tax.

LD 1622 would have provided a tax break to fewer than 60 families a year that pass on estates worth more than $5.5 million, almost half of whom live out-of-state.

“Democrats voted with the people of Maine today. Our communities don’t want to hand out a $14 million tax giveaway to the wealthiest Mainers and out-of-staters. An unfunded and irresponsible giveaway doesn’t make any sense when there are unmet critical needs across our state,” said Rep. Adam Goode of Bangor, the House chairman of the Taxation Committee in a statement. “Today we prioritized help for working Mainers and seniors who are struggling to get by on fixed incomes, not a privileged few.”

The Legislature cut Maine’s estate tax just last year, bringing the amount of untaxed inheritance up to the same level as under federal law. Because of this approach, more than 99 percent of Maine inheritances are already exempt from the tax. The governor’s bill would have created a $14 million hole in the state budget, complicating current legislative debates over insufficient state funding for schools, roads and bridges and essential services for the elderly and Mainers with disabilities.

“The estate tax helps fund education, health care, and infrastructure that keeps our economy strong and competitive and provides a pathway to prosperity for all Mainers regardless of the circumstances of their birth,” wrote Maine Center for Economic Policy analyst Sarah Austin in a recent blog post on the governor’s proposal. “Eliminating the state tax would jeopardize funding for these pillars of our economy and further divide the wealthiest Mainers from the rest of us.”

Photo via Andi Parkinson.

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