Saturday, March 8, 2014
Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law the State's next two-year $30 billion budget that includes $600 million in tax cuts for individuals and businesses. The Governor praised the state legislature for providing tax relief to help Hoosier companies become more competitive, grow, and create jobs.
The $600 million tax reduction package, the largest in Indiana history, includes a 5 percent cut in personal income taxes and the elimination of the estate tax. The lower income tax rate is targeted to lure business investment and more jobs. The repeal of the death tax will help family farms and other small businesses to remain intact after the owners pass on, also preserving Hoosier jobs.
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma explained how the new state budget is a victory for Indiana residents: “We passed a balanced budget with no tax increases; we are living within our means; and we passed the largest tax cut in Hoosier history. This is what it looks like to have a government that works for the people.”
The Maine State Legislature is required by law to pass a two-year balanced budget before July 1 — in seven short weeks. In January, Governor LePage started the process by submitting a budget covering the period from mid-2013 through mid-2015 that matches projected tax revenues with state government spending. The balanced budget includes spending reductions and no tax increases.
Although the Maine Legislature has neither accepted the Governor’s proposed budget nor presented an alternative one, the majority of legislators appear to prefer increased spending and higher taxes in order to balance the budget.
As a reminder, the graph below shows that Maine state government spending has increased 88 percent while our population has inched ahead only 7 percent over the past twenty years. Even though spending has leveled off during the past few years, Augusta continues to lurch from one budget crisis to the next. A primary reason for this ongoing financial instability is the dramatic growth of and overspending on our unsustainable Medicaid program, called MaineCare — the welfare health care program.
As the July 1 deadline approaches, I hope our state legislators follow public officials across the country in balancing Maine's books by right-sizing government programs and services, rather than by increasing taxes and further expanding an already unaffordable government. A healthier state economy and more jobs for our struggling Maine families will result from government living within its means with lower taxes and less debt.Tweet
Bruce Poliquin is the former Maine State Treasurer and a 2012 Republican primary candidate for the United States Senate. He has 35 years of experience owning and managing businesses. Bruce is a proud third-generation Franco-American Mainer and Harvard University graduate. Visit BrucePoliquin.net for his most recent commentary and analysis on media outlets throughout the State about the important issues facing Maine families and their jobs.