Republicans claim that allowing tax cuts for the wealthy to expire will hurt small businesses. It will only hurt small businesses that have employees or owners who net more than $250,000 a year.

Many thoughtful Americans would agree that it is fair to pay an additional 8 percent in taxes on earnings in excess of $250,000.

Furthermore, does it not make sense that an increase in taxes for wealthy small-business owners would actually encourage increased investments in their businesses?

Investing in a business is tax deductible. For example, hiring a new employee would probably reduce taxable income, at least initially. If it reduced it below $250,000 a year, there would be no tax increase. Am I missing something?

Republicans respond that it is not really the increase in taxes that causes them not to invest, it is the uncertainty of the tax situation. I believe it is uncertainty about the economy, not the tax rate, that is inhibiting investment.

But in any event, we can take away the uncertainty surrounding taxes by promptly extending the Bush tax cuts – for those making less than $250,000.

If you want to take that train of thought a step further, you would extend the capital gains tax for wealthy small-business owners – although perhaps extend it to a five-year holding period. Thus, if you had a net income of $350,000, and detested the increased tax on the amount over $250,000, you could invest $100,000 in the business by, for example, hiring two employees at $50,000 each.

Any additional long-term appreciation in the value of the business due to the work of those two employees would later be taxed at a 15 percent rate. Naturally, two good employees could really screw things up by adding to the bottom line too quickly.

Arthur Dumas

Lyman

 

Diocese of Portland has program to protect children

 

As instances of clergy sexual abuse are being reported in Belgium, it’s important to remember how far the Catholic Church has progressed on the problem in this country.

From recent newspaper articles and letters, it’s evident that many have not heard about the steps the church here in the United States has taken over the last eight years to make certain everything possible is done to prevent sexual abuse and to reach out to those who have been harmed in the past.

In fact, no other organization has done more.

In the Diocese of Portland, these steps include:

• The permanent removal from ministry of any church representative who has harmed a child no matter when the abuse took place, and the church publicizes that information.

• Reporting all allegations of abuse of minors to civil authorities, and the church encourages survivors to make their own reports.

• Investigating all allegations no matter how old. They are investigated by a former police officer with 26 years of experience.

• Requiring all church personnel who work with minors, including priests, to have background checks and to participate in an ongoing abuse-prevention program.

• Providing age-appropriate abuse-prevention training to minors.

• Implementing rules that prevent any church representative from being alone with a child.

• For survivors, offering healing counsel and services with licensed therapists.

• Complying with an annual independent audit of these procedures.

It takes great courage for a victim/survivor to come forward with his or her story after years of silence and feelings of shame.

Unfortunately, we cannot turn back the clock and restore their innocence again. But in the name of the church, we must continue to apologize to survivors and work to prevent abuse from happening in the future.

Thom Meschinelli

Coordinator, Safe Environment Program

Diocese of Portland

Cape Elizabeth

 

Maine victory gives boost to campaign law in Congress

 

Your Aug. 20 article, “Campaign finance law stands up to challenge,” noted that another threat to Maine’s Clean Elections law was defeated in U.S. District Court in Maine. Fortunately for Mainers, the National Organization for Marriage’s attempt to undermine our overwhelmingly successful system failed.

Lost in the debates over Wall Street and health care, however, is an attempt to protect the integrity of our elections nationally.

This January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations enjoy the same speech rights as people in elections, allowing for unlimited corporate political spending and overturning nearly a century of precedent. In the coming weeks, Congress will consider the Disclose Act, which requires that corporations disclose their political spending and stand behind their ads like any candidate for office.

supporting similar disclosure laws statewide, Mainers have indicated time and again they believe that neither allowing special interests to spend unlimited amounts, nor allowing spending in secret, enhance our first amendment rights.

Now that Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have returned to Washington, they should work to pass the Disclose Act, so that citizens here and across the country will know the impact that private interests exert on our political process.

Chris Bell

Federal Field Associate, U.S. Public Interest Research Group

Yarmouth

 

Tea party similar (or even identical) to ’60s protests

 

This is in reply to the Another View editorial written by Jeremy Smith on Sept. 6 (“Tea party members have little in common with ’60s protesters”). Mr. Smith has it wrong.

The tea party is the mirror image of the ’60s protester. The tea party is protesting the corrupt and crony-filled government of the times as did the earlier movement.

The liberals of the ’60s burned and smashed things to get their point to the public. The tea party uses a different, nonviolent means to get its point across.

As for the poorly stated swipe at the age of the tea party members, I suggest that if Mr. Smith looks closely at the tea party protesters, he will probably recognize the very people who filled the streets in the ’60s.

Peter Woodcock

Gorham