Tax cuts largely benefit wealthy while sidelining Maine families, education and job training
AUGUSTA -- Future investments in Maine families, education, job training, as well as local support for firefighters and public safety are put at risk by the Governor’s $6.5 billion budget.
The strong concerns were expressed by opponents of the budget on Tuesday during the first public hearing on Governor Paul LePage’s changes to the income and estate tax rates.
“We haven’t been getting the the full story about Governor LePage’s budget,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, the House Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “I’m deeply concerned that the ratcheting down of state revenues in the out years will mean fewer dollars in the future for workforce development, education, and many of the very things businesses and workers say we need to succeed. We want a tax reform plan that is paid for now and in the future so we don’t jeopardize our support for Maine families, our schools, or workforce, or for our local firefighters and police.”
During the hearing, members of the public warned the reduction in the $400 million in revenue would result in a significant cuts to the state budget, prompting lawmakers to request a six year budget impact analysis from Maine Revenue Services and the Department of Administrative and Financial Affairs.
Members of the public also pointed to other states such as Kansas, where similar tax policies that benefit the wealthy have undercut the economy and critical funding for services.
“I support tax reform but this budget sidelines Maine families at the expense of the wealthy and big corporations,” said Senator Linda Valentino of Saco. “We heard a lot of concerns from people today about the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction, the Homestead exemption, and the property tax deduction. If these deductions are eliminated, it will jeopardize Maine’s economic recovery.”
Lawmakers also requested data and information on the net impact of the budget for Maine families, including the property and sales tax changes.
A recent study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows such policies hurt middle and low income earners.
Public hearings on the tax portion of the Governor’s budget will continue throughout the week.
State employees union praises lawmakers for commitment to working families
AUGUSTA – Senators Linda Valentino of Saco and David Dutremble of Biddeford have received a 100% rating from the Maine State Employees Union for their support of working families during the 126th Legislature.
“A strong economy begins with a strong workforce,” said Senator Valentino. “Maine people are dedicated, hard-workers committed to making Maine an even greater place to live and work.”
Senators Valentino and Dutremble are among 19 Democratic senators to receive a perfect score from the union, which represents more than 15,000 public and private sector workers throughout Maine.
“Maine workers deserve respect and support from those of us who represent them in Augusta,” said Senator Dutremble. “I’m proud to stand with workers.”
During the 2014 legislative session, Senators Valentino and Dutremble supported a one-time increase in the cost of living adjustment for state retirees and funding for merit and longevity pay for state workers. They also supported the bipartisan, responsible budget crafted by the legislature, bills to increase access to affordable health care, and to support laid-off workers at the Maine Military Authority.
Saco - Crews will be paving the Cascade Road, Old Orchard Road and Spring Street in Saco beginning on Monday, May 19th.
When work is completed on the Cascade Road, the paving operations will move to Old Orchard Road and Spring Street. Motorists should expect lane closures with flaggers assisting in alternating one-way traffic that will last throughout the projects length.
The exact locations will be on Cascade Road from Route 1 to the Old Orchard Beach town line (0.64 miles). Old Orchard Road from Ferry Road to Timber Oaks Lane (0.4 miles). Spring Street will be from North Street to Lincoln Street (0.45 miles).
It is anticipated all work will be completed by the first week of August.
Old Orchard Beach - State Sen. Linda Valentino was honored at the Saco Bay Rotary Club for her service to the community and for her contributions to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
Her husband Curt Scamman is a member and surprised her with the award with Club President-Elect Chris Jacques at their weekly meeting last Thursday.
“The Rotary Club does remarkable work in our local community and on the international stage. I’d like to thank all of the dedicated volunteers and members who work so hard to help those in need,” says Valentino.
The Paul Harris Fellow is given in appreciation for those whose life exemplifies the humanitarian and educational objectives of the Rotary Foundation.
Many other notable figures have been named as Paul Harris Fellows, including U.S. President Jimmy Carter and U.S. astronaut James Lovell.
Saco Bay Rotary Club meets every Thursday morning at 7:30am at the Captain’s Galley Restaurant.
Sen. Valentino voted to support compromise on reasonable reform
AUGUSTA—In a 18-17 vote, the Senate approved an amended version of LD 1822 to prohibit the use of TANF money for tobacco products, liquor products, gambling activities, lotteries, and bail, and prohibited retailers and vendors from accepting TANF benefits to purchase these products.
AUGUSTA – After one Senate Republican flipped his vote, the Senate failed to secure the two-thirds, or 24, votes need to override Governor LePage’s veto of Democratic Senator Linda Valentino’s bill requiring insurance companies to cover hearing aids for young adults up to age 26. Maine law currently requires insurance companies to pay for hearing aids for children only up to the age of 18.
AUGUSTA – Today, the Senate voted 24-11 in support of Democratic Senator Linda Valentino’s bill requiring insurance companies to cover hearing aids for young adults up to age 26. Maine law currently requires insurance companies to pay for hearing aids for children only up to the age of 18.
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