So the Senate now has its version of the tax bill. It’s as damaging to Mainers as the awful House bill, but in slightly different ways. Do not be deceived that any slight improvements can make either of these bills anything but horrendous.

At their core, both bills shift tax burdens to those least able to sustain them in either direct or indirect ways.

It’s “nice” that the Senate bill lets teachers deduct a small portion of their expenses. It’s “nice” that medical expenses deductions are preserved. But little tweaks like this don’t negate the fact that it is the very wealthy, corporations and heirs and heiresses who gain a great deal and working people very little.

It treats passive income more favorably than that earned day in and day out by hourly labor. It helps shield wealth transfers from the wealthy to their heirs without equitable taxation. It attacks the core features of the Affordable Care Act. And it permanently reduces taxes on corporations that have no intention of reinvesting in good jobs for everyday Mainers, while granting only slight reductions to a very few working people – but only on a temporary basis.

Perhaps the most cynical feature is that it triggers the pay-as-you-go rule (a 2010 law that requires new expenditures to be paid for with cuts or tax increases elsewhere), which devastates many programs like Medicare and environmental protection.

These bills, created in back rooms with no expert testimony and precious little opportunity for amendment, are not the way to impose a vast restructuring of our tax policy. No tweaking can improve them – not even if you eliminate the private-jet deductions.

I call on Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King to speak out in unambiguous opposition and vote “no.”

Susie Crimmins

Portland