Across our beautiful state, we admire the cities and towns that still boast a vibrant downtown.

These downtowns are vital community hubs as well as tourist destinations. The businesses that line our Main Streets provide local jobs, support for local sports teams, local libraries, schools, youth development programs and much more. We must do all we can to help these community-centric businesses.

Currently, we give Internet-only companies an unfair advantage over our local brick-and-mortar shops, in that they aren’t required to pay sales tax.

This reality not only hurts our local businesses; it also places even greater financial stress on every property taxpayer in the state of Maine.

A portion of the sales tax collected by the state is supposed to be given to local cities and towns in the form of municipal revenue sharing; an account that has been raided by the state in past years to balance the budget. The lack of revenue sharing coming from the state to our cities and towns will create a budget shortfall that could result in fewer services, higher property taxes or both.

The Maine Legislature is considering an e-fairness bill that would close this tax loophole and create a level playing field. This affects all of us. I urge citizens to call their representatives today to tell them they support the e-fairness bill. Keep Maine strong!

Dan Emery

Augusta City Councilor, At-Large

Augusta

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