All the campaign promises about less taxes and less regulations didn’t mean much when Gov. King and most of the Legislature voted to increase the cost of doing business in one small Maine fishery by 2,500 percent.
The fishery of which I am referring is is the elver (eel) fishery which in Maine only lasts eight weeks.
Only five legislators out of 14 in Hancock and Washington counties voted against this huge tax. I say “tax” because that is what it is. People who don’t like the word tax will call it a fee or surcharge, but it is still a tax.
This new tax on the fishing communities in the state of Maine will give the Department of Marine Resources another $800,000 a year in dedicated revenue. The department had said that it would need only $314,000.
Last year the Legislature and the governor imposed a $600,000 fee/tax on the lobster fishery. This year the same people have imposed an $800,000 fee/tax on the eight-week elver fishery. Next year, will it be on the shrimp fishery? God forbid if a clam should return to the coast of Maine and the bureaucrats find out.
Some legislators who spoke in favor of the fee/tax on five nets of $800 said that this would be nothing for an elver fisherman because last year the fishermen made from $20,000 to $500,000 each. One representative even stated that with 20 dips of a dip net, you could make a full year’s pay.
This new law will just about remove the harvesters who need this eight-week fishery to hold them over until the next fishery starts, and depend on making $1,500 to $2,000. In other words, the big guy wins again. That seems to be the purpose behind some of these laws; to price the little guy out of the fishery.
When will the people of this state say enough is enough of this tax-and-spend mentality? We need legislators who will listen to all the people of Maine, not just special interest groups.
This new fee/tax gives new meaning to “We mean business” and “Maine is on the move,” but in what direction?
If anyone would like to know how the voting went on this bill, I have the voting list. Rep. Bill Pinkham R-Lamoine