The Senate’s regressive coronavirus stimulus package, released Thursday, is bad for Mainers. I strongly agree with Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s statement that “relief to families in this emergency shouldn’t be regressive. Lower-income families shouldn’t be penalized.”

There should be no requirement for qualifying income. Mainers who were unable to find work last year, who are at home with a young child, who were too sick to work, who got workers comp, WIC, disability or no assistance at all – a substantial portion of the most vulnerable, the elderly, new Mainers – a very high percentage of Maine’s population is too poor to qualify for full assistance in the legislation as it stands.

Under this bill, Mainers who don’t earn enough to pay income taxes would receive $600 in relief apiece, while others would receive $1,200.

At a time when almost all of our food pantries have shut down, when most medical appointments and all physical therapy appointments have been canceled, school lunches and other food programs are unavailable and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services office has closed, those who need help the most are effectively shut out.

I have written to both of our senators, Angus King and Susan Collins, asking that they please work with Sens. Hawley and Mitt Romney to have this assistance, as in Romney’s original proposal, pay every American adult $1,000. Please call or write King and Collins to do the same, for the sake of our most vulnerable Mainers and our economy.

Gwynne Williams

Portland

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