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Suggestions for savings for Maine taxpayers. Up-dated December 16th, 2014

"The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us...
Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers, every tax that is assessed against a business." Ronald Reagan

Augusta tries hard to follow the example from Washington DC

In Augusta it seems that the only effort we see regarding taxation is shifting the burden from one set of taxpayers to another with only the rare example of actually saving anything. It may be just an illusion, but that's how it seems.

So here are some suggestions for real reductions in taxes here in Maine.

Efficiency Maine, paid for by taxpayers, should go

If the savings is so great why wouldn't the person buying insulation, a new refrigerator or stove or washer or dryer or switching to pellets make the 'investment' on his own? Just last week we read in the media about a current 'shortage' of wood pellets. Why, golly gee, how long before the government comes up with a scheme to finance more pellet mills?

All these alleged savings to consumers come at the expense of other consumers, many of whom made it a point to build energy efficient homes in the first place. So those folks are now forced to pay for up-grades to the homes of those who spent their money on other things while some of us did what was right in the first place. Seems fair...

Can you say 'Grasshopper & Ant'?

Eliminate the annual vehicle inspection altogether.

Other states have done so and there seems to be no evidence that inspections save lives. Responsible vehicle owners should be doing routine maintenance and the mechanics doing the maintenance should be competent enough to notice when some part of the vehicle isn't performing correctly. Police would still have the authority to stop and ticket drivers who are driving un-maintained vehicles. Fenders falling off, lights out and tires without tread occur despite inspections. People borrow tires from friends to get the sticker and return the tires afterwards, putting on the old tires because they can't afford new ones. Lights burn out soon after inspections and vehicles are stopped.

The money spent for the inspection might just pay for a new headlight. Troopers spending their time inspecting the inspection places might be better used patrolling the highways.

What is the administrative cost of the inspection system?

By eliminating the annual inspection we immediately save the cost of the sticker for every vehicle in the state and the cadre of troopers inspecting the inspectors is back to doing what we expect of them – patrolling the roads. 

Eliminate the “Disposal Fee” on used motor oil.

Repair facilities routinely use this “waste oil” to heat their facilities. It is not being dumped in our rivers. Why should vehicle owners pay an additional fee to assure proper disposal of waste oil that will ultimately end up being burned as fuel? This is a good use of the waste oil and should be encouraged, but there is no logical reason to charge consumers a fee that actually then saves money for the maintenance facility. 

Eliminate the Excise Tax.

This would involve increased property tax, yes. However when the administrative cost of Excise Tax is taken into account, the elimination of the tax would result in a net decrease in overall taxation. Every Town Office in the state has the expense of updating computer software to reflect new or changed tax rates. Office staff uses time to compute and collect the tax.

Vehicle owners register their vehicles in other states to avoid the tax. Eliminating the tax would result in more people registering their vehicles in Maine rather than where they spend the winter months.  Even though Maine law requires that vehicles be registered here, we all know that many people flaunt that law and continue to register in Florida to avoid the Excise Tax.

People who drive new and expensive vehicles are more apt to have more expensive homes so that the tax burden would likely not shift much at all. Those who pay higher excise taxes are more likely to pay higher property taxes as well, so the net result would be a fairly apportioned tax. Those vehicle owners who have registered vehicles out of state would then also be paying a fairer share of the local road maintenance burden by paying somewhat more in Property Tax.

I see no logic is towns collecting Excise Taxes and sending that money to Augusta and then Augusta sending money back to the towns as “revenue sharing”, after first taking a portion of that collected money for State expenses. If the State needs money for programs and roads then it should properly collect that in the form of taxes that are specifically targeted to pay for those things the Legislature considers necessary.

Remember – the total tax collected would decrease because of the reduction in administration costs.   

License Plates 

Is there some particular reason Maine vehicles need front license plates? Other states seem to do just fine with only a plate on the rear.

Now I could be wrong, but in my estimation, requiring 2 plates most certainly adds to the cost of making and paying for the plates. Requiring only one would immediately reduce, by half, the cost of materials and labor to make license plates, not to mention the plastic shrink-wrap they are delivered in. Logic carries that the savings would be passed on to Maine vehicle owners – a real cost saving, not a fake one, like so many ideas that come from Augusta.

Why do we need to register vehicles every year? What's wrong with 2 years, like utility trailers - or 5 years? Think of the savings in administration! In fact - what logical reason is there to register a vehicle more than once in the first place? When someone takes possession of a vehicle I can see them having to register it, but once having done so that should be it until he/she acquires a different vehicle. The sole reason for annual registrations is clearly to bring revenue into state coffers. So once again - If the State needs money for programs and roads then it should properly collect that in the form of taxes that are specifically targeted to pay for those things the Legislature considers necessary.

Eliminate any program that has exemptions.

If a program, regulation or tax is valid for some then it is valid for everyone and everything. 

Eliminate all grant programs funded by any Government entity.  

Government grant programs simply shift the burden of spending. They do not truly enhance anything without taking money from some other equally worthy enterprise. Anything worth doing in a community is worth that community raising the funds for it. Were state and federal taxes no so out of control then communities would be better able to fund their own projects. I know this idea is radical and would cause discomfort for a time, but I also think that if implemented it would be only a short time until people realized that having a disconnect between costs and spending does not reduce, but actually increases the cost of projects. It's much easier to spend other people's money than your own.

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