The one question Republican legislators need to answer

Last Friday legislative Republicans released their tax plan for the coming two-year budget cycle. In reference to the Republican plan, Maine people deserve an answer to one specific question:

“The legislative Republicans’ tax proposal takes money from poor and working class Mainers and gives it to the wealthy. Is this by design or by mistake?”

Under the Republican plan, Mainers with incomes less than $57,000 get a tax increase. That’s right, if you’re a hardworking Mainer struggling to make ends meet, your taxes will go up on average if the Republicans get their way. Meanwhile, the top 1% of Mainers will get an average tax cut of more than $8,300.

At MECEP we’ve been analyzing tax policies for years. We are committed to developing a tax system that is fair and that raises the money we need to invest in good schools and strong communities. The legislative Republican’s tax plan does neither of these. It creates an even bigger budget shortfall in the future than the governor’s plan. This will trigger cuts to state spending on schools, healthcare for seniors, children, and people with disabilities, and other vital programs and services. The Republican plan also creates a reverse Robin Hood effect where the rich get richer thanks to tax increases on poor and working class Mainers.

If this was by design, legislative Republicans need to level with Maine people and state clearly why the choices they make in their tax plan are in the best interest of Maine and Maine people, particularly those earning less than $57,000 a year. If the Republican reverse Robin Hood plan is a mistake, then legislative Republicans need to acknowledge that so the critical work of negotiating a state budget that works for all Maine people can begin in earnest and not be sidetracked by such a mistake-ridden proposal.