Democratic legislators in Maine have responded to Gov. LePage’s proposed budget with the Opportunity Agenda.

It should be no surprise to many that the governor’s budget falls most heavily on the poor and vulnerable, gives token relief to the middle class and rewards the rich.

Columnist Jim Fossel apparently agrees with LePage’s budget, for, in his May 7 diatribe against the Opportunity Agenda, he says that “we need to toss the fancy schemes out the window and focus on cutting spending at all levels of government.”

The Opportunity Agenda, among other things, fully funds public schools, increases the homestead exemption to $30,000, offers additional revenue sharing from the state to our towns, proposes bonding to provide student debt relief, invest in infrastructure, support research and development and expand broadband access across the state, and explains how all this would be paid for. Apparently these are what Fossel calls “fancy schemes.” Democrats call them “priorities.”

They understand that with this Legislature and a looming LePage veto, they need to work with all their colleagues to forge a workable budget that is fair, and they know they will have to compromise.

But at least these offer the possibility of a bright future for all Mainers and are paid for in part by the 3 percent tax surcharge for those earning a net income of more than $200,000. (So, for example, if their net taxable income is $200,001, their additional tax will be $3.)

To read more, go to OpportunityAgendaMaine.com.


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