Gov. Paul LePage says he wants to make Mainers more prosperous. He proposes to do so by eliminating the state income tax.

When the governor was on WCSH’s show “207” earlier this spring, he was asked how eliminating the income tax would make Mainers more prosperous. He answered that one only needs to look at those states without an income tax, highlighting Florida and Texas. So I did.

States without a state income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. New Hampshire and Tennessee tax only interest and dividend income. Two measures of the prosperity of a state’s population would include the percentage of residents living in poverty and median family income. According to 2013 U.S. Bureau of the Census data, 13.6 percent of Mainers had incomes below the poverty line. The median four-person family income was $73,900.

Alaska, New Hampshire and Wyoming have smaller proportions of their residents with incomes below the poverty level. Washington and South Dakota are similar to Maine. The four other states had percentages higher than Maine’s. Florida, Texas and Tennessee were the highest, each above 17 percent of their population.

A comparison of median family incomes amongst these same states finds that Alaska and New Hampshire family incomes are substantially higher than Maine’s. The remaining seven states were similar or substantially less than Maine. Amongst the lowest were Florida and Texas, where families made $9,800 and $4,300 less than Maine families. With its current tax system, Maine is in the middle of the pack of these states.

Improving the economic prosperity of Mainers by facilitating new good-paying jobs should be a priority, but it is a complex problem requiring a complex mix of effective solutions. Maine families need less political grandstanding from the governor, and more objective pragmatism.

George Seel, Belgrade

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