Campus News

David Vail Appointed to Tax Reform Advisory Committee

Story posted July 17, 2002

Maine House speaker Michael Saxl has appointed Bowdoin College economics professor David Vail to serve on an eight person Tax Reform Advisory Committee.

Speaker Saxl (Bowdoin Class of 1989) has charged the committee to identify ways Maine's fiscal system can be reformed to enhance three sometimes competing policy goals: a fair distribution of tax burdens, revenue stability over economic cycles, and business taxes that do not put Maine at a competitive disadvantage. The committee is expected to report its findings and recommendations this fall.

Four particular tax issues that will come under study are Maine's antiquated sales tax, which covers a shrinking fraction of retail spending; business equipment taxes, which some claim deter investment; local property taxes, which are among the nation's heaviest; and the earned income tax credit, which protects low wage earners from undue income taxes.

David Vail is Adams-Catlin Professor of Economics and former director of environmental studies at Bowdoin College. For the past fifteen years, his research has focused on sustainable development of rural economies and natural resource industries in New England and Scandinavia. His current work, with Swedish colleagues, centers on nature tourism and rural development in Sweden and Maine.

Vail has worked on agriculture, forestry and rural development projects in Africa and Pakistan for the Rockefeller Foundation, US AID, Harvard University, and Finland's World Institute for Development Economics Research. He has authored or edited ten books and monographs.

In Maine, Vail currently serves on the boards of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and the Eco-Eco Civic Forum. He is a consultant to Coastal Enterprises, Inc. of Wiscasset and an advisor to the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. He is editorial coordinator for the Times Record's "Sustain Maine" op-ed series.

Vail earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude in international affairs from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in economics from Yale.

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