The Jan. 25 news article by J. Craig Anderson (“Maine Sunday Telegram analysis: LePage plan will reduce tax burden for most Maine workers”) and op-ed column by Michael Cuzzi (“LePage’s bold budget proposal starts overdue debate on taxes”) dissected the pros and cons of Gov. LePage’s tax reform plan.

Although both were detailed and articulate, neither addressed the implications of maintaining the current levels of corporate tax breaks and incentive programs.

A 2014 article by Jessica Hall used a 2012 New York Times study to highlight the costs of these programs to Maine’s taxpayers.

Hall wrote: “Maine spends more than $500 million a year on such incentive programs, according to the Times analysis. That is roughly $379 per capita, or 17 cents per dollar of the state budget … .”

Allowing corporate tax breaks and incentive programs to continue at their current level, while reducing the total tax burden on predominantly the rich, is unacceptable.

The elimination of state revenue-sharing to Maine’s communities should be made up by the elimination of an equal value in corporate tax breaks and incentives.

The failure to do so will surely result in a drastic increase in property taxes, especially in rural communities, whose residents are already struggling to pay for public services, education and assistance.

Contained also in Anderson’s article is a sentence that speaks volumes to the governor’s approach and priorities concerning equitable taxation: “Eliminate the estate tax.”

Barely mentioned and unquestioned by either Anderson or Cuzzi, its elimination promotes the continued expansion of income inequality and erosion of the middle class.

Maine currently exempts the first $2 million in taxable inheritance, while the federal tax code exempts the first $5.34 million.

The existing state inheritance tax exemption covers 99 percent of Maine resident’s estates. Bringing it in line with the federal tax code would be a supportable compromise.

Lew Kingsbury

Pittston