We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
How much to chip a dog’s back teeth? $1,000, it’s been calculated.
That’s how much the state Department of Revenue wants to hike dog licensing fees, from $6.10 to $11.20 per license, starting Jan. 1.
But if you’ve paid one of the lowest fees in the state, don’t expect to see any change in your bill.
Because that’s how licensing fees are calculated.
The higher dog licensing fee is a “tax” to fund dog bite injuries. But the lower fees get “revenue” from, because the state doesn’t want to “tax” people with the lowest fees.
No other state license fees work like this, according to Dog’s Law, a group that advocates for dog owners.
“It’s the most blatant example of double taxation,” said Dog’s Law attorney and former Maine resident Jeff Wilkins, who says he now lives in Georgia. “It’s just taxation by misnomer.”
Maine Dog, the main organization advocating for licensing and for raising license fees, says it’s all about money.
“When license fees are increased, it should be the taxpayers, not those of us who already pay high license fees, who should have to pay more for the right to keep their pets,” said Michele Bickford, vice president of Maine Dog.
Wilkins said they’re not just talking about you and me. They’re talking about “high-income households.”
That would be the 1 percent, and anyone who’s making over $100,000 a year.
Maine Dog said in a statement that the increase in licensing fees would be on top of increased fees “from all current programs, services and licenses.”
And that’s all true, but not the whole story.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maine’s median household income is $47,000.
The median family income in Maine is $67,000.
And, according to the Maine Department of Revenue, the top 5 percent of Maine residents make over $100,000 a year, even though the state ranks among the top 5 percent in the country for the highest tax burden.
What about the rest of us?
According to the Maine Revenue Department, the lowest 5 percent of Maine families pay no state taxes, and more than 60 percent of Maine families pay less than the state’s overall tax burden.
When you crunch the numbers, you can see it: The people with the highest incomes in Maine have the highest license fees. And we have the highest tax burden.
It’s clear the tax increase is a tax on the working class.
And if you are among the top 5 percent of income earners, it’s a very clear sign you pay for all the government services the rest of us receive, and then some.
The Legislature and the governor need to sit down and talk about these numbers, and find a new way to reduce the tax burden on the people who can least afford it.
Matt DeRienzo is the director of the Maine People’s Alliance, a progressive advocacy organization dedicated to making Maine a better place to live and work. Contact him at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @mattderienzo.