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Legislators Hungry to Hear From Nonprofits on Tax Policy

by Brenda Peluso

Tax policy determines the amount of revenue raised by governments to fund services to Maine people, including many services provided efficiently and effectively by Maine nonprofit organizations.  Tax policy can also be an incentive for charitable giving, a deterrent to unhealthy behaviors (sin taxes), and conversely a way for governments to incentivize economic development (tax credits).

Tax policy is being heatedly debated as part of the budget and as stand alone proposals.  We have heard from some legislators that they would like to hear from more nonprofits on the potential impact of these proposals on their organizations and the people they serve.  The time is now to contact your legislator if you have questions, concerns or praise for any of the potential new tax policies being debated.

Tax Proposals Include:

  • The Estate Tax:  The Estate Tax in Maine taxes accumulated wealth and provides revenues to the treasury and incentives for planned giving. The budget package includes reductions to Maine’s Estate Tax and there is a bill still pending that could reduce or eliminate the Maine’s Estate Tax, LD 1147.
  • Cigarette Tax: LD 536 would increase the per pack tax from $2.00 to $3.50 and funds the operation of a tobacco help line for those wishing to quit.
  • Changes to Process: LD 603 would require a 2/3rds majority vote of the legislature to pass any tax increase, and LD 1248 would require voter approval of any tax or fee increase.  This bills are reminiscent of past TABOR efforts.
  • Tax Reductions: The budget contains over $200 million in tax cuts and there are several stand-alone bills pending.  Some target low-income individuals, some target high earners and some target business taxes.  All purport to spur the economy.

Talking to your elected officials about tax policy in general and specific legislation is completely legal and appropriate for nonprofits.  Visit our website for more information on legal nonprofit advocacy and contact your legislator today.  If your legislator is not in leadership or does not serve on the Appropriations Committee, urge them to relay your message to their colleagues who do.

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