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LETTER: Craven’s numbers don’t add up

To The Editor:

I must take issue with Senator Margaret Craven’s rebuttal in the July 6, 2012 issue of Twin City TIMES. Attacking fellow Senator Lois Snowe-Mello by saying “her logic is often misleading, if not outright wrong,” Craven finds herself guilty of the very same offense.

As a sitting senator who voted on the tax law changes, surely Senator Craven must understand that the tax changes will create more than “one dollar in their pocket,” which she indicated would be the additional gain to the taxpayer. The law has three distinct items that will help every working family in Maine.

Beginning in 2012, the state will allow the federal standard deduction, replacing the current lower state deduction. For 2012 that means a married couple’s first $11,900 is tax exempt, which is $2,150 more than Maine currently allows.

And in 2013, we will also see an increase in the per-person deduction from the current state-allowed amount of $2,850 to match the federal standard, which in 2012 will be $3,800 per person and likely higher in 2013.

Lastly, the lowest income tax bracket of 2% of the first $10,000 in taxable income will be reduced to ZERO. Given those changes, a family of four with two minimum-wage earners and two children will see a tax reduction of almost $183 annually and will have no income tax due to the State of Maine.

Republicans led the changes and passed them in both chambers with informed membership understanding this would help ALL Mainers. Senator Craven also indicated that those earning more than $366,000 would have an average tax savings of $21,638 each. I’m not sure where that number comes from, as the highest tax rate will change from 8.5% to 7.95%. Thus, one would need to have almost $4 million in annual taxable income to receive such a large tax savings.

The numbers presented by Senator Craven simply don’t add up. But equally important is Senator Craven’s commentary that “Under no conditions will having an extra dollar in your pocket yield better results for the economy.” Frankly, that’s an insult to every working person who struggles to make ends meet and who would be pleasantly surprised to find an extra dollar in their pocket. If the 1.3 million people in our state each had only one extra dollar, they could indeed have an effect on our economy.

What her statement really provides is a glimpse into the mindset of the past 20 years of Democratic legislative control, when every tax increase could simply be viewed as “it’s just a buck.” This attitude has resulted in higher taxes, ever-increasing tax rates for gas and cigarettes, as well as temporary taxes to fuel the spending spree that they could not—or did not wish to—reign in.

The Republican majority now serving in Augusta understands what the working people need and how to help them. Decisions such as these are why I decided to run for the Maine State Senate to represent Lewiston.

Robert Reed



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