When we were kids, we had an easy and effective way to deal with others who didn’t want to share: We stopped inviting them to our games.

Although Gov. Paul LePage proposes to broaden categories and increase sales tax rates, none of the increased revenue, even though generated by shoppers and businesses locally, would go to Maine’s towns. Instead, LePage would eliminate revenue sharing between the state and local governments.

If you are among the moral majority who work hard for a modest living, LePage’s proposed budget is bad news. Regressive sales taxes place an increased burden on Maine’s less-fortunate citizens, while income taxes that LePage proposes to decrease would benefit those who can afford to pay them.

Make no mistake, people who own a home will pay more. The lost income that our municipalities depend upon to provide essential services can come only from higher property taxes. We will become like New Hampshire, where taxes for even the most modest dwellings run $5,000-6,000 annually.

Oh, LePage would tax nonprofits. Those lucky enough to live in a community with them might get by. (Most likely gone, however, would be the free concerts, library services, film support and other cultural amenities provided by Colby College that make Waterville a good place to live.) But citizens of the vast majority of small inland towns with depressed economies and no large nonprofits will be out of luck.

I have a better idea. Let’s abolish state government and keep all our taxes in the localities that provide services such as snow removal, road maintenance, schools and trash collection that we need. Preposterous? Less crazy, less callous and more accountable than LePage’s idea.

Tell your legislators to resist LePage’s budget and shut down state government if necessary to keep revenue sharing.

Paul Lawn


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