Dear House Democrats,
Here are the week’s must-read news stories and a new section on press on our members. You’ll also find talking points on tax fairness and sequester and the LePage budget proposal impact handout. Please feel free to use these to inform your conversations with local media and constituents.
We continue to hear great things about the forums you are having around the state. Keep up the good work. Please see your aide if you need help.
As a reminder, our weekly communications conference call will take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Please join in if you’re able and help Ann and Jodi plan our communications strategy for the coming week. The number for the call is (661) 673-8600 and the access code is 503017.
Seth and Jeff
A SAMPLING OF PRESS ON OUR MEMBERS
The governor is going to raise property taxes on the middle class in order to reduce taxes on the wealthy.
Republicans ordered up a tax break largely for the wealthy without knowing how they were going to pay for it. Now, the governor is passing the tab to middle-class Mainers through property tax hikes in his proposed budget.
Democrats want the wealthy to pay their fair share. People making more than $250,000 a year can afford to pay as least as much per dollar as those making $48,000.
A single mother of two making minimum wage pays 17 percent of her income in state and local taxes. Someone making $350,000 or more pays just 10 percent. Maine’s tax system is already unfair and under the governor’s budget it would get far worse.
The Republican-led Legislature in 2011 passed nearly half a billion ($434 million) in tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthy. Two of every three dollars in the tax breaks go to the wealthiest 20 percent of Mainers.
Direct state support to local governments (school funding, revenue sharing, local road assistance, etc.) as a percentage of total state revenue is already at decades-long lows. If the governor’s budget is passed, the tax shift will be even worse.
It’s time to close loopholes that allow top earners to game the systems and leave working and middle-class Mainers to pick up the tab.
It’s time to make our tax code fairer.
Sequester is the worst possible result of the obstructionism we’ve seen from Republicans in Washington. We need lawmakers to work together to strengthen our economy – not deal it a blow.
Our economy will be dealt a blow if these cuts go forward on March 1.
Maine will lose enormous amounts of funding for education, public safety, health care and job training.
· The sequester pulls $2.7 million in funding for K-12 education and an additional $2.6 million from programs for children with disabilities.
· About 740 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and flu. Dollar for dollar, there is no better public health investment than immunization for kids. It pays for itself in spades with a lifetime of improved health.
· The vital programs facing cuts include assistance for seniors, services for the victims of domestic violence, child care, law enforcement and infectious disease programs and natural disasters response.
· National Guard readiness would be at risk. Six hundred civilian employees of the U.S. Department of Defense in Maine could be furloughed.