The TV ads have started on Question 1, the “people’s veto” of the state’s new tax code. Maine voters are asked to vote “no” on “a plan to raise income taxes in a bad economy.”

These messages do not tell the whole story. The new law, which was passed on June 12, 2009, would add new sales taxes on services such as car repairs, boat moorings and movie tickets. A more detailed list may be found in the July 5, 2009, Maine Sunday Telegram.

Yes, we are living in a bad economy. These additional costs will hurt Maine business — existing and potential. Who wants to come to Maine to be nickeled and dimed?

And what about our local nonprofit agencies? The new law will not allow Maine taxpayers to deduct contributions to churches, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other not-for-profit organizations.

In addition, the new law would not allow Maine taxpayers to deduct medical expenses.

On June 8, help support Maine business and charitable organizations and vote “yes” on Question 1.

Mary Lancey

South Portland

 

 

I was very pleased to see that the Maine Chamber has shifted its position on tax reform and now opposes Question 1. For years, AARP worked with the Legislature to try to pass meaningful tax reform for our members.

The fact that this new law would lower the state’s income tax for 95 percent of our residents is just one of the reasons we urge voters to vote “no” on Question 1 on June 8.

Maine has made some tough cuts the past few years to state and local governments that will help us weather the current economic storm. Having needed tax reform laws being held up by the ballot initiative process, however, is a concern for AARP. Who wants their income taxes to stay at the high level of 8.5 percent? Not our seniors.

AARP supports a “no” vote on Question 1 because Maine’s entire population — not just our seniors — will gain ground if this law is not repealed (before we even have a chance to try it).

There are a lot of false claims out there, but don’t be fooled by them. Vote “no” on Question 1 to lower taxes for all residents of the state.

Join the Chamber of Commerce and AARP to have the opportunity to lower income taxes for workers, businesses and those on fixed incomes.

Do we need more tax reform? Yes, of course. This new law is not perfect, but it takes us a long way toward having a modernized tax structure that is more reflective of our economy in the new century than the current tax system. which has not been modernized for over 40 years.

Let’s work on reducing property taxes next, as that will really allow seniors to stay in their homes and communities across this great state.

Nancy B. Kelleher

AARP State Director

Scarborough

 

 

Attacks on taxes hurt the poor and the needy

 

The attempted furlough of New York’s state workers, amounting to a 20 percent cut in pay, as well as similar moves in other states, reflects the desperate state of the economies of New York and elsewhere.

Attempts to ease a budget shortfall by taking it out on state employees by furloughs, or by withholding negotiated pay raises, amounts to a tax on state employees.

Similarly, the increase or institution of state fees or cuts in health care, welfare and other state programs represent types of taxes. Increased fees, however, or cuts in human service programs, are inherently regressive, hurting most those who have little.

The Republicans have been phenomenally successful in making increases in income taxes politically costly, even though they are the most effective and fairest way to meet the states’ needs.

Indeed, the states, as well as the federal government, would be in far better position now if they had not granted tax decreases a few years ago.

The tea party arguments that money should not be taken from one and given to another hardly reflects the tenets of any religion or cultural set of norms.

James Atleson

Cape Elizabeth

 

 

Being “fed up with taxes” is a popular political theme these days.

Taxes are frequently demonized, and almost every day we hear or see in the media that taxes are bad and they need to be reduced and/or we shouldn’t have to pay them at all.

People are continually looking for ways to reduce taxes with various kinds of “tax breaks” and incentives. But taxes provide many wonderful things in our communities, state and nation.

In our communities, taxes help to educate our children, provide police and fire protection, provide sidewalks and roads for us to use to get from one place to another.

In the winter, tax money pays the people who plow and clear the sidewalks and roads. Taxes provide opportunities to get free books on loan, have parks available for recreation and get rid of our trash.

At the state level, taxes pay for education at all levels, highways (public works), police protection and a legal system to protect the rights of citizens and imprison those who break the law (public safety), health and human services for those who can’t provide for themselves or are without a job, government administration, and other services.

At the federal level, taxes pay for national security, health and retirement benefits, human services for those in need, highways, prisons, etc.

All of us benefit in some way from the services provided with our tax money and life would be difficult without those things.

Certainly we need to challenge our political leaders not to waste our tax dollars. But taxes are not all bad and I, for one, am not fed up with taxes.

I enjoy the things that my tax dollars provide for me, my family, my community, my state and my country.

David H. Juers

Cape Elizabeth

 

 

Important point about car, bike safety worth repeating

 

Kudos to James C. Tasse for his great commentary in the May 4 edition of The Portland Press Herald, reminding all travelers/commuters of basic safety principles while we share the roadways!

The following statement bears repeating:

“Maine state law bicyclists and roller skiers must be passed with at least 3 feet of space — if you can’t give them at least 3 feet, you should wait for a safer place to pass.”

Pat Bruce

Windham