No problem, says the policy center, because once Washington has experienced three years of relative prosperity, all companies located there would have to start paying a new “consumption-based” tax similar to New Hampshire’s Business Enterprise Tax, which is a complicated levy on payrolls, gross income, and interest paid and earned. While the center claims this form of taxation has worked well in the Granite State, it neglects to mention that the amount it raises isn’t sufficient to pay for many public services, which is why New Hampshire has the third highest property-tax burden in the nation.
Once Washington County is on its feet, “Free ME” would move on to the next poorest county, Aroostook, which will be even poorer by then because of all the business it lost to Washington. But with statewide taxes lifted, Maine’s largest county would soon be sucking the lifeblood out of its neighbors, such as Piscataquis County (with the worst average compensation per job in the state and the fifth-worst personal income per capita) and Somerset County (with the second-highest percentage of people in poverty).
Eventually, the entire state, except prosperous Cumberland and York counties, would come under the “Free ME” rules. That’ll allow the rest of Maine to steal most of their revenue, thereby reducing them to the destitute condition that will be the new normal.
We’ll all be equally poor.
Even John Baldacci couldn’t accomplish that. Although, he came close.
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: The Editorial Page
, John Baldacci, Maine Heritage Policy Center