The US economy, as a whole, is just staving off recession yet there are some states that seem intent on making their own localised versions of the downturn worse by excluding the very people who could help. It appears that in many states lawmakers facing tight budgets are fishing for income amongst those who own private planes or yachts via use tax laws. For example, in Maine if your private choice of transport is in the state for longer than 20 days then you are charged at 5 percent of the purchase price (only for the year post purchase) and if their judgement relates to a previous year then there’s interest to be added. The quote from Mr Khan (who is being asked for $25,000 relating to 2003) sums up how people will act, “I know of half a dozen pilots who have cancelled their vacations to Maine and are going to some other state where they feel welcome. It’s definitely going to hurt their business.”
Maine isn’t alone in shooting itself in the foot, other states with similar laws include Florida, Illinois and Washington, and due to the downturn they are all replicating Maine’s actions. Whilst the US is in this precarious position states should not be turning visitors away. They should be encouraging the wealthy to visit in order to aid growth and redistribute wealth in the natural way rather than through the use of legislation and the threat of inhibiting people’s freedom. The money that the state will take from a handful of people may cover up some revenue shortage, but after it has leeched through the state government the people of Maine will not benefit as much as had the wealthy been allowed to spend it has they saw fit.
The legislators in Maine have just ensured that their State’s downturn will be slightly worse; other states though are opening their arms and welcoming the wealthy and the benefits they will bring to their communities.