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House Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2007
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Jay Finegan, 287-1445
[i]photo by Diane Johansen[/i]
House GOP Leader Josh Tardy Calls Tax
Reform Plan "˜Unacceptable' and "˜Irresponsible'
AUGUSTA "“ House Republican Leader Josh Tardy today sharply rejected a massive tax reform bill moving through the Legislature, telling a packed State House news conference that he will not support a plan that balances itself on the backs of Maine businesses. "I've been in the Legislature long enough to know a bad deal when I see one "“ and this is a bad deal," he said.
The bill, LD 1925, would lower Maine's income tax rate to 6 percent but expand the sales tax to scores of services than have always been exempt, yielding a revenue-neutral result. It drew a strong rebuke from Dana Connors, president of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, which mobilized hundreds of sign-carrying business owners for the 10 a.m. event in the Hall of Flags. "Maine businesses are unified in opposition to this plan," he said, "which offers no meaningful tax relief." He called the plan overly broad and complex and riddled with ambiguities.
The legislation passed the Maine House yesterday, 87-49, with Democrats prevailing on a vote that broke along party lines. It is now in the Senate, and must return to the House one more time for final enactment. Its fate remains uncertain, but Rep. Tardy said the bill needs to be killed.
"The people of Maine have spoken loudly and clearly and they are demanding tax relief," Rep. Tardy told the news conference. "The mere fact that we are talking about the number of winners and losers under this plan shows that it is unacceptable. The people of Maine want relief "“ they all want to be winners "“ and a shell game that shifts the tax burden to business is not tax relief."
Rep. Tardy complimented the Taxation Committee for bringing forth a plan to reduce state government's reliance on the income tax. "That goal is laudable and worthy," he said. "However, without true spending reform, without curbing the state's appetite for spending, any tax plan would be irresponsible."
He also took aim at a House vote yesterday that rejected a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase taxes. By 85-55, also along party lines, Democrats rebuffed this bill, which was a companion to the tax reform legislature. That vote, said Rep. Tardy, "shows that real spending reform is not a priority of this Legislature."