“The Inflation Reduction Act will ensure wealthy corporations making record profits pay their fair share. It will bring down the cost of prescription drugs for older Mainers and keep health care premiums affordable for the 66,000 Mainers that receive health care through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. It will tackle the existential threat of climate change by investing in renewable energy and support consumers dealing with higher energy and fuel costs,” said MECEP Vice President of Policy and Programs Megan Michaud. “MECEP has long called for closing corporate tax loopholes and investing in efforts that benefit all of us and improve people’s lives and this legislation will do exactly that.”
In particular, MECEP welcomes several provisions in the proposal which will make the US tax code fairer:
- Creating a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent, ending the ability of powerful corporations to make billions of dollars in profits while using deductions and loopholes to avoid paying federal income tax.
- Properly funding the Internal Revenue Service for the first time in decades, giving the agency the resources to pursue wealthy tax evaders instead of single parents with low income. Investigations have found that Piscataquis and Washington Counties in Maine are among the highest-audited counties in the nation due to this poor prioritization. Properly funding the IRS will turn their focus back to the wealthy 1 percent.
- A 1 % excise tax on corporations for stock buybacks, which do little more than enrich shareholders.
Additionally, the bill’s health care measures make it more affordable for tens of thousands of Mainers to get the care they need:
- Extending the subsidies included in the American Rescue Plan for 66,000 Mainers who currently get their insurance through the “health care marketplace.” MECEP previously estimated that without this continuation, some Mainers would have faced up to $20,000 a year in extra premium costs.
- Allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and capping out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Part D plans. This will directly reduce costs for tens of thousands of older Mainers with low income.
The bill also creates a historic level of investment in provisions to tackle the climate crisis, with tax credits to make technology like heat pumps, solar panels, and electric vehicles more affordable for consumers, as well as funding to help make older homes more energy efficient. These measures will be particularly impactful for Mainers with low income who struggle to afford the high costs of heating oil and electricity. It also invests heavily in manufacturing and developing new technologies in the US. Together, these initiatives are estimated to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. For communities of low income most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, tackling this crisis isn’t just important – it’s urgent.
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act reminds us what’s possible when elected officials focus their time and attention on issues that people care about and affect their lives directly.” said MECEP Vice President of Policy and Programs Megan Michaud “Ensuring everyone contributes their fair share – including wealthy corporations, keeping health care costs down, and tackling energy costs and climate change are huge wins. At MECEP we’ll continue to fight for some of the pieces left out of this package – including reinstituting the expanded child tax credit that cut child poverty across Maine and the country and ensuring child care is accessible and affordable. Positive policy change is possible and the Inflation Reduction Act is evidence of that. We commend Sen. King, Rep. Pingree, and Rep. Golden for their support and look forward to what’s next.”