Bill to cut excise tax opposed by Maine cities and towns

A bill being considered by the legislative Taxation Committee eventually would cut in half the tax that residents pay to towns and cities to register motor vehicles, a change that supporters say would help the poor but opponents say would threaten a key revenue stream for cash-strapped municipalities.

L.D. 26 would reduce the excise tax on motor vehicles by 10 percent of its current amount each year for five years, until the rate is cut in half by 2022.

Opponents say that would only boost local property taxes, while supporters say it addresses the “unfair nature of the excise tax.”

China Selectman Ron Breton said in an interview that he sees the proposal as a “lose-lose” for towns and taxpayers. China collects about $800,000 in excise taxes each year, which is 64 percent of its total budgeted revenue, excluding property taxes, he said.

“If this bill were to pass, five years from

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