What’s happening at the Statehouse? In my committee the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee we are working very hard on firearms issues these days with approximately 20 plus bills that have been submitted for consideration. Many of these bills have similar issues so several members are working to combine them into one all encompassing bill however for me, personally, most of these will do nothing for public safety and personal protection. We are one of the safest states in the nation. New laws will just burden all our law abiding citizens while criminals will still be criminals with no regard for the law. Looking at ways to prevent violence in the first place is where we need to expend our efforts.
As you read this, we will have approximately eight weeks left in the first regular session of the 126th Maine Legislature. There is a lot of work to be done and all the committees are working diligently get the bills processed and to the floor of the House and Senate.
The Taxation Committee is considering measures to increase the lodging tax from 7 percent to 12 percent, the liquor tax from 7 percent to 9 percent, and the general sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent. According to Maine Revenue Services, raising the lodging and sales taxes under those bills would raid the private sector to the tune of about $166 million per year, or 38 percent of the budget gap. This comprehensive revenue-grab would represent the largest tax hike in Maine’s history.
As quoted by Rep. Ken Fredette, “These are taxes that hit the middle class the hardest.” Many would like to think that we can close the budget gap by taxing somebody else—the rich or the tourists. But the reality is that their tax hike package hits every Mainer, and hits them hard. We need to look at all state programs to find efficiencies.
It is a pleasure and honor to be your representative. Contact me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.