If the Portland Press Herald’s recent “Truth Test” had all its facts right, it would rate Democrats’ ads regarding Senate Republican voting records as 100 percent correct, not “mostly correct” (“Dems’ attacks on state senators gets facts mostly correct,” Aug. 8).
With respect to jobs and health care, the Press Herald rightly noted that the Democrats’ ads are correct. But by looking to Gov. Paul LePage’s commissioner for tax policy for verification, and at a part and not the whole, the Press Herald got less than half the story on the tax cuts for the wealthy.
The “Truth Test’s” first mistake is to look only at L.D. 1043. In fact, many recent tax measures are now shifting Maine’s taxes to the middle class.
Already, a single parent of two, working full time at minimum wage, pays nearly twice as much per dollar of income in state and local taxes as paid by an investor with an annual income of three-quarters of a million dollars.
Partisan bills such as L.D. 849, a TABOR-like measure, are projected to make this problem far worse.
The second mistake is to look only at one part of L.D. 1043: the income tax changes. Elsewhere in the bill, more than two-thirds of these income tax cuts are paid for by reducing aid to towns and to property taxpayers. While L.D. 1043 offers many working families a few dollars in income tax cuts, it takes away several hundred dollars by indirectly increasing property taxes and directly reducing property tax rebates.
Over the last two years, House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly offered comprehensive alternatives that would have cost less and helped thousands more families, all of which have been rejected in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy.
We will continue to work for jobs, health care, tax fairness and shared prosperity for all Maine residents in the years to come.
Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, is the lead Democrat on the Legislature’s Taxation Committee.