“I think it will come as no surprise that I am opposed to the Republican tax plan and intend to vote against it,” US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) told a group of Maine stakeholders this morning at a round table she convened on the subject. “There has been no bipartisan process on the Republican bill. The president wants this passed quickly. The $5 trillion budget will benefit some of the wealthiest people in the United States,” Pingree said before turning to the panel of stakeholders assembled for their views on the plan. “Republicans have always said that we need to pay for items simultaneously – that has changed now.”
Representatives from a wide segment of the Maine population spoke on the effects the proposed Republican tax plan would have on their lives.
Sally Reagan, a public school teacher, listed numerous school supplies she purchases for her students that would no longer be tax deductible under the Republic tax plan. In an emotional description, she said that some of her students on occasion ask her for snacks because they are hungry. Pingree responded that she’d heard others from wealthier states say the tax deduction, if passed, would not be missed because “it’s too small an amount to be bothered to deduct.” (See above right photo.)
Barbara Berry, a representative of the Maine Realtor Association, discussed the impact the proposed limits on mortgage interest deduction would have on Mainers. “Tax codes have incentives for home ownership in Maine. If we remove them, there will be a negative effect on our real estate industry and home values,” she said. “There would be a 12% drop in home values if the tax incentives disappear,” Berry said. That is based on the work of the National Association of Home Realators based on Maine figures from 2014. “This is a real concern to those who rely on their homes for personal wealth.”
Speaking about the proposed elimination of the student loan deduction Jonathan Brown said that this bill would discourage “us from going to college.” Brown, who graduated from the University of New England last spring as a political science major, said that so many students move out of the state in order to pay off their student loans. Brown from Harpswell said he’s trying to stay there as long as possible. He said that that there are lots of progressive roots here in Maine and “I want to work with that. We should have a bill that would do the opposite of what this bill would do,” he told Congresswoman Pingree. (See above left photo.)
“We can’t let this bill pass. I would like to see a bill that would encourage students to stay in Maine,” Brown said. Congresswoman Pingree grinned and shook his hand. Shortly thereafter she left the state of Maine room at city hall to catch a noon flight to Trumpland.