AUGUSTA (WGME) – Maine lawmakers are taking up a so-called “tourism tax.”
Leaders around Maine are weighing in on two bills that would allow Maine towns and cities to impose a seasonal or year-round local sales tax, in addition to the statewide sales tax.
Each town or city would be able to determine its rate, which months of the year it would be in effect and how the money would be used.
The concept has been receiving mixed reviews.
“This is a hugely important issue for service center communities like Portland,” said Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, a Democrat and a former state senator.
“A local option sales tax would allow us to put a penny on the sales tax so all the tourists who are coming to town every day — all the folks who are using services in Portland but don’t leave any revenue behind to help pay for those services — we could then retain some of the revenue,” he said.
Rep. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, had a different take.
“You can try to target tourists if that’s your end game but there’s no guarantee that that’s actually the people you’re gonna be punishing with this tax,” he said.
Voters would have to approve the new tax by referendum.