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Maine governor says plan would prevent state tax hike

March 1, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s Republican governor unveiled a plan Thursday to prevent a state income tax hike.

The proposal offered by Gov. Paul LePage includes goals he and House Republicans have fought for: reducing taxes on corporations and estates while providing some tax relief.

The state’s economic forecasting commission this week estimated the federal tax cut passed by Congress last year means Maine could see a $128 million budget surplus over the two-year budget cycle. LePage’s proposal would direct that surplus toward a child tax credit initiative.

“I’m looking at this as just returning to the taxpayers their money,” said Republican Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake.

Some Democratic lawmakers already are hinting they’d want to spend extra revenue on the opioid crisis and voter-approved Medicaid expansion. The liberal nonprofit Maine Center for Economic Policy claims the proposal would provide more tax relief to businesses than low-income Mainers.

States still are sorting out the fallout of GOP tax overhaul that could mean lower federal income taxes and higher state taxes. The governor’s plan comes about a month-and-a-half before the expected end of the legislative session, and lawmakers already hinting at a lengthy back-and-forth over the governor’s wide-ranging proposal.

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