Where’s the “Shared Sacrifice”?

On Monday (2/28) MECEP and representatives from local government, small business and public employees held a State House press conference to raise concerns about the tax cuts and spending priorities in Governor Paul LePage’s proposed budget for the next biennium.  They spoke just moments before the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs began its budget hearings.  

Speaking at the press conference, MECEP Associate Director Garrett Martin noted repeated calls for “shared sacrifice” but expressed frustration that the LePage budget “demands much from working families, seniors, retired teachers and state employees while giving huge tax breaks to Maine’s wealthiest residents.”

“This budget cuts property tax relief for working families while providing Maine’s wealthiest 1% of households, those earning more than $360,000 dollars, a $2,700 dollar tax cut,” Martin said.  “It freezes health care funding for thousands of working parents and prescription drug assistance for seniors to save approximately $30 million dollars, while giving away $30 million dollars in tax breaks to Maine’s 550 largest estates.  It undermines the retirement security for teachers and state employees to fund over $200 million dollars in tax breaks, 50% of which benefit households earning over $120,000 dollars.”

Joining Martin were William Bridgeo, City Manager, Augusta; Will Neilson, owner, Solo Bistro in Bath; and Ginette Rivard, Vice President, Maine State Employees Association/Local 1989 Service Employees International Union.  

The media coverage included the Associated Press (story appeared in the Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, Augusta and other newspapers), WABI-TV (Channel 5 in Bangor), and WCSH-TV/WLBZ-TV (Channels 6 and 2 in Portland and Bangor respectively).

At the news conference, MECEP also released “Tax Plan: Winners & Losers,” an overview of its analysis of tax changes proposed in the budget.   To obtain a copy, click here.