For years, the Maine Legislature has added dozens of tax credits, exemptions and refunds to the state's tax code. Rarely have lawmakers revisited those carve-outs to assess whether they're accomplishing their original goals, much less repeal them.
Fortunately, that situation will soon change.
As part of the newly enacted state budget, a 13-member task force will comb through the state's tax laws and come up with $40 million in tax breaks to eliminate or scale back. More importantly for the long term, that same group will also be charged with developing a regular evaluation for those incentives.
It's not only crucial that policymakers have data to help them judge whether Maine is making smart investments in economic growth initiatives. It's crucial that policymakers act on those data. They should end the programs that are ineffective, redesign programs that could become effective with some tweaking and continue — perhaps expand — the programs that are producing a return on investment.
Read the full editorial at bangordailynews.com.