A Referendum: A Maine initiative to tax the rich is one of several proposed across the country
§15697 Fund to Advance Public Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education
1. In November voters in Maine will say yes or no to a ballot proposition that imposes a state tax of 3 percent on income in excess of $200,000 to be used to pay for staff and services in public K-12 schools. The measure, proposed by the head of a public policy think tank, is among several around the U.S. that would raise taxes on the wealthy. Backers say their goal is to fill budget holes that have resulted from the sluggish economy and cutbacks in aid from Washington.
2. Colorado activists are gathering signatures to put a 0.5 percentage point tax hike on incomes greater than $405,000 before voters. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked the state legislature for permission to hold a referendum on adding a levy of 0.5 percent on income in excess of $1 million to pay for services for the homeless. Massachusetts activists will try to qualify a proposal to raise state taxes on income above $1 million by 4 percentage points, to 9 percent.
3. Antitax groups argue that such measures would drive away the wealthy, but a 2014 Stanford study found that higher taxes rarely cause people to move. Morris Pearl, the former Blackrock managing director who now chairs the pro- tax group Patriotic Millionaires, says it’s no surprise states are taking steps to hike taxes in response to popular angst about income inequality: “People are realizing that the wealthy are taking advantage of the system.”
Proponent Garrett Martin Executive director, Maine Center for Economic Policy
Section 1. 20-A MRSA §15697 pp. 1-2
1. Fund established
2. Revenue; 30-day review before changing use of fund
3. Use of fund to supplement and not supplant General Fund appropriations; direct support for student learning
4. Report 5. Rule of construction
Section 2. 36 MRSA §5111, sub-§6 pp. 2-3
6. Income tax surcharge to advance public kindergarten to grade 12 education Includes librarians, special ed teachers, and health staff