Let’s talk money. Take a break from the discussions of civil rights, religious, moral, and voter issues associated with same-sex marriage in Maine. Let’s instead take a look at the inclusion of same-sex marriage from a purely economic stand point, and how the rejection of the same-sex marriage law would have a negative impact on the pocketbooks of the people.
There are some necessary statistics concerning the state of Maine’s present economic condition we have to discuss. These rather depressing numbers may sound extremely familiar (every state’s economic condition is similar) and not a pleasant read, but we have to go over them for justification. Pour yourself some stout coffee, double espresso, revved up tea, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, or whatever your caffeine drink of choice may be, because we’re gonna talk numbers.
According to figures taken from The Maine Consumer: Under Pressure, a report written by the Maine Development Foundation, dated Aug 28, 2009, Maine’s consumers are under extreme financial pressure:
- Unemployment is currently at 8.4% - a 49% increase over the previous twelve months
- Total employment declined by 3%
- Maine’s state government and other large employers cut salaries, reduced benefits and mandated furlough days to close growing revenue and cost gaps
- Bankruptcy filings increased by 33%
- Auto and building supplies sales dropped by 12%
- The proportion of Maine people receiving support through the Maine Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program increased 18% covering 16% of the total population
- State and Local Tax Burdens are significantly above regional averages at 14% making Maine’s state and local tax payments relative to income among the highest in the nation
In a nut shell, the report says the state of Maine’s economy is in the worst shape it’s been in in years. With no stimulus in sight, everyone is searching for viable alternatives to add money to the coffers and help hoist the economy out of the crapper. One such alternative, with immediate impact potential, is the inclusion and implementation of same-sex marriages.
So perk up! We’re going to discuss feel good positive numbers that are going to truly amaze you. On May 6, 2009, UCLA’s Williams Institute released a new study on the direct fiscal impact of same-sex marriage in Maine:
- 2,316 Maine same-sex couples are predicted to marry during the first three years with an additional 15,657 out-of-state couples expected to travel to Maine to marry
- An additional 1,000 new jobs will be created by tourism and weddings
- Sales tax revenues could rise by $3.1 million due to $60 million being spent on weddings and tourism
- Income tax revenues will rise when same-sex couples file jointly - increasing the state’s income tax revenue $69,110 per year
- The State’s public assistance expenditures will decrease by at least $3.4 million per year and as much as $7.3 million more if spousal income is included in Medicaid eligibility standards
- $539,193 will be generated in marriage license fees
The impact on the cost of state employee retirement benefits will be negligible.
The Maine Consumer report states:
Giving equal marriage rights to same-sex couples will have a positive impact on the state budget of approximately $8 million per year and a revenue gain to state businesses of almost $20 million per year during the first three years that marriage is extended to same-sex couples.
That’s a total of $84 million added to the Maine economy over a three year period — just for letting us gays get married! I call that a win win — a happy, happy situation, don’t you? How could anyone be against that?
Another incredible fact I have to share with you pertains to same-sex marriage on the federal level. Hang on to your fedora for this one. The Congressional Budget Office stated that if all fifty states and the federal government recognized marriage of same-sex couples, there would be a yearly infusion into the federal government of approximately $1 billion! Who knew?!
The next time you’re having a discussion with a civil rights nonbeliever debating inclusion of gender neutral marriage in your state or the nation, start talking money! I’ve found that it’ll stop ‘em in mid sentence — make ‘em ponder and say, “Please, tell me how it will do that.” And as for me, now that I know the figures, my question to you all is. How do you become a wedding planner?
Negative impact on the economy? Nonissue. Vote No On 1 Protect Maine Equality.