Maine Revenue Service issued a one-paragraph statement May 26, announcing that the state’s 15-cent pesticide container fee is repealed, effective July 1.

It’s about time.

This ill-conceived measure went into effect on June 16, 2020, to establish a Tick Laboratory and fund for portions of operations and outreach activities of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory, including a study on brown-tail moths. The studies are commendable. The tax was anything but.

The 15-cent fee (they didn’t call it a tax, but it felt like one) was levied at the cash register according to UPC codes — thousands of them — and, during a pandemic, the list managed not to miss a single household cleaning product. Every conceivable kind of sanitizer and disinfectant is on the UPC list, which is available on the Board of Pesticides Control webpage at

So, in Maine we all paid an extra 15 cents every time we bought a jug of Clorox, a bottle or can of Lysol, any sanitizing liquid or spray, antibacterial cleaners, mold killers, toilet bowl cleaners, bathroom spray cleaners, floor cleaners, all-purpose cleaning and disinfecting sprays, sanitizing towelettes, bug sprays and more. Or, for outside use, a citronella candle, mosquito repellent, flea shampoo and flea/tick collars for family pets, and algaecide for the swimming pool.

The list of UPC codes contained 20,794 products for 2020 and 21,928 for 2021.

Come July, we’ll be able to clean our kitchens and bathrooms again tax-free. (Or fee-free.) That’s a good thing.