Moving Maine Students to the Head of the Class

This November, Maine voters will consider a ballot initiative (Question 2) that rolls back recent tax breaks for the wealthy and dedicates this revenue toward additional state level resources for schools. The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) examined the context for this initiative, its potential to promote tax fairness, and its capacity to improve educational outcomes and workforce readiness of Maine

Tens of millions of dollars in recent tax breaks compromise state capacity to invest in education. As a result of income tax cuts since 2011 that largely benefit wealthy households, Mainers will lose $297 million in state revenue in 2017 that would have been available for education funding. As the state’s contribution to education has decreased, local costs have increased—an average of $180 million a year. Shortchanging schools at the state level has a wide range of negative consequences for Maine students, businesses, and communities including: widening of the opportunity gap between students in high- and low-income communities; putting education quality at risk; hurting employers who struggle to find workers with skills their businesses need; compromising the fairness of Maine’s tax system; and making it harder for communities to thrive.