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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.

Follow Bruce on Facebook (facebook.com/BrucePoliquin) and Twitter @BrucePoliquin.

Previous entries

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

Thursday May 16, 2013 | 08:35 AM

Spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security consumes approximately 43% of every federal tax dollar.  The growth of these popular health care and retirement programs is the primary cause of the nation’s huge annual budget deficits, $17 trillion mountain of public debt, and rising taxes.  This fiscal crisis is dampening business investment and job creation.  Today, roughly 25 million Americans are looking for jobs or are working part-time. 

The chart below shows the projected spending on each program over the next 10 years.  The dramatic spending growth swamps expected inflation and our country’s population increase over the decade.

The longer the career politicians in Washington wait to save these critically important programs, the bigger the problems get and the more painful the solutions become.  America’s fiscal and job crises cannot be solved without reforming these three enormous programs.  Saving Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will encourage the business owners to further invest in and grow their companies, generating badly needed jobs for our struggling fellow Americans.

Tuesday May 14, 2013 | 12:22 PM

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.

Thursday May 09, 2013 | 06:00 AM

For as long as most can remember, the two major political parties in Maine have disagreed over the value of income tax cuts. Generally speaking, Democrats have favored higher income taxes to pay for more government programs and services. They believe that bigger government combined with our safe communities and pristine natural environment is the right combination to attract business investment and jobs to Maine. Republicans have pushed for smaller government with less spending and debt, lower income taxes, fewer regulations, and less expensive energy and health insurance to incentivize entrepreneurs to invest in Maine and create jobs.

Last week, a bipartisan group of state legislators finally agreed that lower income taxes are needed to help grow Maine’s economy and create badly needed employment. Thankfully, the “Gang of 11” did not include divisive “tax the rich” language in its proposed overhaul of Maine’s smothering web of taxes. Instead, the bipartisan plan states…

“Income taxes are among the factors that individuals and businesses consider in making location decisions. These reforms would make locating in Maine more attractive for individuals creating or bringing jobs to Maine, for retirees choosing their formal residence for tax-purposes, and for small businesses, thereby laying the foundation for a more prosperous economic future.”

Maine’s bottom ranking among the state business climates is convincing an increasing number of legislators that Maine’s income taxes are simply too high to attract business investment and jobs. The non-partisan Tax Foundation compares the economic health of the 50 states as measured by a number of important factors. During 2000-10, the ten states with the lowest tax burdens (income, sales, property, and other taxes) had, on average, greater population, employment, and personal income growth than the highest taxed states. Maine has been among the highest taxed states for years.

Tuesday May 07, 2013 | 06:00 AM

Last week, one Independent, five Democrat and five Republican state legislators proposed a sweeping overhaul of Maine tax laws. I join other Mainers in appreciating the bipartisan effort by the so-called “Gang of 11” to reform the State’s smothering web of taxes.

I was particularly pleased to read on page 3 of the now public document entitled “An Act to Encourage Maine Residence (Discussion Draft)” dated March 26, authored by the group of 11 legislators, that stated…

“Income taxes are among the factors that individuals and businesses consider in making location decisions. These reforms would make locating in Maine more attractive for individuals creating or bringing jobs to Maine, for retirees choosing their formal residence for tax-purposes, and for small businesses, thereby laying the foundation for a more prosperous economic future.”

For many years, fiscal conservatives including myself have presented compelling evidence that high taxes, complicated regulations, and expensive energy and health insurance have been driving away businesses, jobs, and senior citizens from Maine. Even so, the annual chorus of naysayers surfaces when the clear benefits of lower taxes are discussed.

Thursday May 02, 2013 | 10:59 AM

Last week, I was chatting with a pleasant fellow between innings at a baseball game. The conversation found its way to his job and the rotten economy. He’s a landscaper who has a lot fewer customers today than a couple years ago. His wife works part-time at a convenience store so she can be home when their two kids come back from school. Even with both jobs, the nice fellow says it’s a struggle to afford heating oil, gasoline, groceries, insurance, car payments, and the mortgage.

As the ballgame inched along, our chat turned to Washington. Like many, my bleacher companion is disgusted with the “senseless” spending of the hard-earned tax dollars he and his wife send to Washington.

I mention the $17 trillion national debt resulting from years of borrowing to pay for Washington’s overspending. My fellow fan knows about the debt, but it doesn’t bother him like the reckless overspending. He isn’t sure to whom America owes the $17 trillion, and the number is so staggering large that it doesn’t seem to be real. Besides, he’s not sure how it impacts his family here in Maine, if at all.

I wish that I had had the graph below in my pocket to show this fellow. The red line charts the annual interest payments for the next 10 years that are owed on the $17 trillion mountain of public debt. As a comparison, the billions of dollars in each box is the amount Washington spends today for various programs.