Dropping revenue sharing and taxing nonprofits is a terrible idea. Revenue sharing has enabled small towns to have good school systems and makes for a level playing field among schools. The governor’s budget will greatly increase property taxes or reduce vital services and quality education.

No one likes to pay taxes, but we need the services they provide. We hear about needs not being met and infrastructure not being maintained because of lack of funds. The Legislature should do nothing that reduces total revenue; if anything, revenue needs to be increased.

The progressive personal income tax is the fairest means to raise funds. Perhaps the governor is right in wanting to raise the minimum income that is taxed. Broadening the sales tax base is also necessary.

To see the results of relying greatly on property tax, we have only to look at New Hampshire, which has the second highest property taxes in the nation and which has expensive lawsuits because of the huge discrepancy in money spent and the quality of education among school districts. Tuition at the University of New Hampshire is $16,552. Tuition and fees at the University of Maine in Orono is $10,606. If we want an educated workforce, our goal should be to make it even less.

When the majority of residents were farmers, it made sense to have the largest share of taxes based on property. It had more relationship to the ability pay than it does today. Today someone’s taxes may be high because of their view, because houses in the neighborhood have sold recently for high prices, or because of proximity to a body of water.

If someone has been in a home for a number of years, all of the above will have nothing to do with his or her ability to pay.

Priscilla Markley, Winthrop


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