The Red County Caucus Issues Statement on Collins’ Support of Tax Reform

 

Reports that Maine’s ranking Senator Susan Collins has announced her decision to support the Senate version of the Tax Reform bill is welcome news to the hard-working taxpayers of Maine. We, the members of The Red County Caucus, would like to commend the Senator for this decision. While the bill falls short of the necessary reform that the tax structure needs, it is a positive step forward and establishes a good foundation for future reform.

Senator Collins was successful in securing concessions from Republicans in exchange for her vote. A political victory for Collins to be sure , but the impact upon our economy remains to be seen. What remains perplexing to Maine voters is Collins’ continued defense of Obamacare and the Individual Mandate, which she campaigned against.

The Red County Caucus recommends that Senator Collins take the time to engage with her constituents, specifically small business owners, whose budgets are choked by the onerous effects of the Individual Mandate. Perhaps then she would understand its negative impact upon the economies of Maine residents and businesses. Still, the people of Maine should applaud this positive announcement from their Senator.

Opponents of Tax Reform have touted the projections from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) and this should be addressed. Simply stated, the CBO has been historically and consistently wrong in its projections and, sadly, in recent years has become increasingly partisan, which only further diminishes its credibility. All honest and non-partisan analysis agree that tax reform will bring much needed tax cuts across all wage brackets, doubling much needed child tax credit, and increase tax refunds for middle to low wage earners.

In summation, Senator Collins should be commended for her support of the Senate tax reform bill. This bill, though far from perfect, provides much needed tax relief for the wage earners and businesses of the United States. If the repeal of the Individual Mandate remains in place, this bill is a strong positive move forward towards reforming our outdated and burdensome tax structure.

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The Red County Caucus Issues Statement on Senator Collins

 

We of The Red County Caucus would like to remind Senator Susan Collins that the Constitution of the United States was written to protect the Natural Born Rights of the Individual. These Rights, inherent, unalienable, and God-given, have been, in times past and present, under repeated assault from activism from all corners of our society in an effort to undermine the Founding Ideal of this Free Republic: that the government of free men should defend and protect the free will of the individual. What is common sense was once common place but now a rarity to be sure.

Congress is now engaged in a pitted debate over the nuance, impact, and economics of tax reform. The Red County Caucus is not prepared at this point to issue a statement on a tax reform plan as Congress is still far from formulating one. However, we will comment on the recent duplicitous behavior of Maine’s Senior Senator, Susan Collins.

Senator Collins has threatened to sabotage the tax reform process unless the repeal of the individual mandate of Obamacare is removed. This is strikingly hypocritical of the good Senator, who was heard on many occasions on the campaign trial, decrying to enthusiastic Maine voters the disastrous impact the individual mandate and ObamaCare has had on Maine household budgets, all the while chanting “Repeal and Replace”. Now returned to Congress’ marbled halls, Collins’ mantra seems to have changed to “Defend and Deny” at all cost.

Can there be a more glaring violation of the Constitution than the Individual Mandate? To mandate, that is to force by law, an individual to purchase a product the individual may or may not want, to fund an ideal of socialized medicine that the individual may or may not want, and to do so under threat of penal action by the government, the maker of the product, is the very epitome of the kind of governmental abuse and overreach our Constitution was written to protect against. Yet, Senator Collins remains dogged in her determination to undermine, once again, Congress and the President’s attempt to fix a failing and outdated tax system in a fixated effort to defend a healthcare system she promised voters she would work to “repeal and replace”.

We ask Susan Collins once again: Who is she representing? Is it the bureaucracies and Washington power brokers who wish to force the individual, through a government mandate, to comply to their wishes? Or the individuals here in Maine who have and still protest this Individual Mandate with its destructive impacts on the households of the State she represents. Senator Collins must choose against the interests of Washington and for the individual rights of her constituents in Maine.

The Red County Caucus Issues Statement on Tax Reform

 

 

Tax Reform

As Congress debates the way forward to reform the burdensome tax code, The Red County Caucus offers some common sense parameters for effective tax reform. Most can agree that this Nation is in desperate need of tax relief but the process and implementation often get lost to the web of special interests, D.C. Power brokers, and entrenched bureaucracy. The Nation can no longer afford to wait as Washington wallows in it’s stagnation and We The People demand true and effective reform now.

The business capital of the United States continues to shrink while the size of the government continues to grow. This alarming trend is unsustainable and must be reversed. History shows that our economy functions best when the free market is strengthened and the effect of government intrusion is weakened.

To that point, Tax Reform must provide relief to all taxpayers. It is important that tax cuts have a liberating effect on the economies of every tax bracket. Every hard working American must realize more of their own income in their own pocket which in turn will loosen restricted budgets energizing local economies.

A sound tax policy must encourage business investment which is the life blood of economic growth. The anti-business policies of the past administration must be rejected for a pro-growth, pro-business tax code which gives incentive for investment in both small and large business. This will create real private sector jobs.

The balance of economic power must be shifted back to the private sector. This can only be accomplished by offsetting the tax cuts with cuts to the size of government. We must shrink the size of government.

This is accomplished through cuts to discretionary spending, meaningful reductions and cuts to the federal bureaucracy. Federal procurement procedures must be audited and true reforms implemented. An effective restructure to the entitlements must be addressed, which will focus and target the truly needy by establishing common sense parameters on cost and qualification.

The government with the least amount of functions, functions best. A simplified tax code is the best solution. As those in Washington argue the whys and wherefores of true reform and government’s place in our society, it would do our representatives well to remember the old adage: Less is More.

Tax Committee Votes to Kill the Death Tax

03/11/2016 11:42 AM EST
For Immediate Release: Friday, March 11, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

Majority report supports governor’s proposal to eliminate Maine’s estate tax

AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Taxation voted 7-6 on Thursday in favor of Governor LePage’s proposal to eliminate Maine’s estate tax.

LD 1622, sponsored by Rep. Stedman Seavey (R-Kennebunkport) and cosponsored by Sen. Earle McCormick (R-Kennebec), repeals the estate tax starting on January 1, 2017.

“I am encouraged by the Tax Committee’s vote and hope their colleagues in the House and Senate will give this proposal serious consideration,” said Governor LePage. “Maine’s death tax is killing our chances at prosperity. We now have an opportunity to eliminate the death tax as 32 other states have done and send a clear message that we want people to stay in Maine or move back from states where there is no estate tax.”

Governor LePage first called for the elimination of the estate tax as part of his January 2015 biennial budget submission, proposing to conform to the federal estate tax exemption for 2016 and eliminating the estate tax in 2017. The Legislature voted to conform with the federal estate tax exemption amount in 2016, but stopped short of eliminating it, prompting Governor LePage to introduce this stand-alone bill.

With estimated collections of $14.4 million for deaths occurring in 2016, Maine’s estate tax is no longer a significant source of revenue when compared to taxes such as the income tax, sales tax and property tax. Revenue from the tax is notoriously unreliable and difficult to predict. Just as importantly, the Office of Tax Policy estimates that Maine would only need to retain or attract 400 individuals in order to collect the same amount of tax revenue.

“Mainers with significant liquid assets only need to change their residency to escape our oppressive estate tax,” said Governor LePage. “Our business owners and farmers, who have fixed assets in Maine, are the ones that retain their residency and whose families are burdened by the estate tax.”

Liquid assets include savings, investments and other items that are not fixed within Maine are easily protected by changing residency to a non-estate tax state. Fixed assets include land, buildings and business equipment, which are difficult to transfer ownership without incurring significant legal costs.

Clark Granger, vice president of the Maine Farm Bureau, who appeared before the committee in his personal capacity, provided compelling testimony to the committee about how Maine farmers are tied to the land they own and are unable to avoid Maine’s estate tax. As a result, farm families are often hit by the estate tax as ownership transfers from one generation to the next.

In 2013, the last year of complete data, a total of 78 non-residents and 91 residents were required to pay the estate tax. The non-resident returns had a tax liability of $1.7 million. The resident returns had a total tax liability of $25.8 million.

Following the repeal of Tennessee’s inheritance tax at the beginning of 2016, Maine is one of only 18 states that have some form of estate or inheritance tax. Most of those states are located in the Northeast and Midwest.