Workers subsidize their employers in Maine's tax break heaven #mepolitics

Bath Iron Works staff subsidize their own jobs - directly, and in proportion to their pay. People around the country are being stunned by the latest report from David Cay Johnston, called "Taxed by the Boss," in which he details companies around the country that get tax breaks from their host states in the form of keeping payroll tax money normally deducted from workers' paychecks and sent to the state coffers.

Maine is one of 16 states that has such a program (and one of six that has two!), costing Mainers $10.2 million in tax revenue last year alone - cash that would be sent to the treasury but instead is kept by companies.

Bath Iron Works is the biggest beneficiary in Maine, and 14th biggest beneficiary in the country. The company is owned by General Dynamics, a major government and military contractor with billions in taxpayer-funded contracts and profits. But over ten years, Johnston's report shows, BIW has gotten more than $60 million in tax breaks of this type.

Some of you may be startled to learn this, but we here at the Phoenix are not. We reported on this tax break and billions of dollars in other corporate giveaways back in 2008, based on the first-ever complete survey of Maine's tax breaks, conducted by Maine Revenue Services. It was a story called "Tax Break Heaven," by Lance Tapley.

The survey, repeated every two years, details the BIW credit as "the shipbuilding facility tax credit," and capped at $3.5 million per company. You can see the latest report here (look under "Expenditure Reports") - with a page for every single tax break the state offers. Here's a direct link to the latest PDF.

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