State government continues to grow rapidly because it takes in too much money from individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. Many people are hurting because of rising costs for energy, gasoline, food, utilities, and everything else needed to live in Maine.
In January it cost an additional $625 a month more than January of last year for an average Maine household to live in Maine. That is $7,500 more a year.
Maine has the dubious distinction of having the third highest tax burden, by income, in the United States. Over the last year, Maine over-collected $1.5 billion from taxpayers, then returned part of it by sending some people $850 and $450 relief checks. State government should not have taken that much money in the first place. We need to lower taxes so that it won’t happen again.
I was elected to work for all the people of my district and Maine as a whole. That requires active problem-solving and an ability to work with others, regardless of political affiliation.
I am extremely disappointed that the majority party refused a Republican proposal for $200 million in income tax relief, targeted toward low- to -middle income earners. That proposal was only 2% of a $10.3 billion budget. The budget is expected to grow even larger, possibly to $11 billion, when new revenue forecast projections come out in late April.
To avoid working with legislative Republicans, Democrats passed a one-party budget, then pretended that the Legislature had finished its work in March, not June 24, the statutory end date. Having “finished its work,” the Governor then called the Legislature back into Special Session. We are now in that “Special Session” completing our work without a specific end date.
While I am disappointed that elected representatives of over 450 Maine municipalities representing 600,000 people were excluded from making a bipartisan budget, I will not stop calling for the Legislature to pass meaningful income tax reform so that struggling Mainers can keep more of their money.
The people I represent and taxpayers across Maine, deserve no less from us at this challenging time. State government should not grow larger while family budget get smaller.
I appreciate the support I have received from constituents and the opportunity to continue serving you in the Maine House. If there is anything I can do to assist you, or if you have questions or concerns involving state agencies, please contact me at Jim.Thorne@legislature.maine.gov.
Sincerely, Rep. Jim Thorne