Taxing the Rich Across the Country


Reading an Oklahoma editorial that cites public policy in Maine while I sit here in Rhode Island can’t help but make me wonder how it is we fail to learn with the entire nation — the entire world — as a real-time generator of examples and case studies:

Last year, voters in Maine approved a ballot measure that increased by 3 percentage points the income tax rate for those earning more than $200,000. This set Maine’s top income tax rate at 10.15 percent, second-highest in the country.

The tax increase, promoted by teachers unions, was a classic “soak the rich” proposal. The 41 percent rate increase was expected to impact only around 7,000 filers in Maine, and was expected to generate $157 million per year, which would be earmarked for schools.

Pause and think about a pair of aspects, here.  First, you’ve got the teachers unions using government literally to confiscate money from a targeted group of people and give it to themselves.  (The one step of separation that sends the money to the school districts makes no difference.)  To progressives, that’s called “representative democracy.”  If one side can manipulate political processes, their “representatives” will give it things taken from another side.

Second, following on that idea of taking from others, do a little quick math.  Taking $157 million from 7,000 people means taking $22,429 from each.  How is that not plain plunder?  Sure, maybe wealthy people can afford that hit, but robbing from rich people is still theft.  And what would make people think families wouldn’t seek some way to adjust their finances in order to prevent the taking of so much money?

It isn’t at all surprising that the Maine Revenue Services office reported no evidence of increased revenue a month ago.

  • Mike678

    “If we are to believe that raising “sin” taxes will discourage unwanted behavior, such as smoking, why should we conclude that increasing income taxes will encourage desirable behavior, such as investing in Maine?

    Supporters of Maine’s new surcharge, which amounts to a 42 percent tax increase on income exceeding $200,000 a year, seem to believe raising taxes on small business owners and job creators provides an incentive for those individuals to stay in Maine. The evidence says otherwise.”

    Plenty of past examples of what this type of legislation does. Maine revenue may go up the first year–it takes time for people to relocate. The real damage will be seen later. I wonder what they were emoting–because they weren’t thinking.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I have never had a satisfactory explanation of where the “fair” comes from in progressive taxation. Usually some drivel about the more you get, the more you should give. Well, if the “get” were a gift,. that might make some sense. Otherwise, it is a tax on hard work,imitative and risk.

    As it is now, I understand that 50% of Americans pay no income tax. That means they are free to vote for anything, without fear of cost to themselves.