Middle class needs tax relief

Sen. Susan Collins ran on the promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, which she stated was badly broken. Yet when given the opportunity to do so, she voted no. Her excuse was none of the plans suited her.

Now comes tax reform, and Collins plans on selling Maine voters down the river again. She objects to the Senate plan to eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate. Why is beyond me. The individual mandate is nothing more than a tax levied on the poor for being too poor to afford health care.

Nonprofits paying millions to top executives can afford to pay corporate taxes. Congress must cap salaries of nonprofits. The misuse of status is beyond comprehension. But many nonprofits paying millions to executives are deep-pocket donors to both political parties. But Congress chose to put the burden on those who can least afford it.

Lowering the corporate tax rates will allow many citizens forced to operate businesses abroad to come home. With them come good-paying jobs that will help increase wages.

Of course, corporations are intent on increasing their bottom line. That is the definition of business. The more a business makes, the more it wants to make. To make more it will need more employees. The stronger the demand for workers becomes, the stronger the workers’ bargaining power is. In other words, employees will be able to demand better wages.

To both Collins and Sen. Angus King, I say, results matter. The middle class cannot bear the tax burden now under and are in desperate need of relief.

Catherine Ferrell

Tax bill trickle down

It’s not lost on me that Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Bruce Poliquin are part of the demographic that stands to gain the most from the tax plan they have voted for. I can’t help but wonder how their personal tax savings will trickle down to the rest of us.

For example, will they be increasing the salary of those who work for them by $4,000, as Trump said would happen? Will they be organizing fundraising bean suppers for sick or injured people who lose their health insurance without the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate? What plans do they have for those of us who can no longer deduct out-of-pocket medical or assisted living expenses?

A nice gesture might be for them to make donations to the Treasury Department to help pay down the $1 trillion increase in the deficit they are creating.

We know our future greatness rests on having skilled and educated workers, so I am wondering how Congress will help students in our communities. Maybe they could buy school supplies with their tax savings and donate them to local schools, as teachers have had their tax deduction for doing so slashed by them. Or they could start scholarships so college students don’t have to take on so much debt, especially since Congress just took away students’ ability to deduct the interest from student loans.

I am hoping that Collins (whose net worth is $3.7 million) and Poliquin ( $12 million) will encourage Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ( $1.3 billion) to do the same.

Linda Buckmaster

Collins did Maine wrong on tax bill

Regarding Sen. Susan Collins vote on tax overhaul, it’s so nice to see her “comfort level” has been addressed. I am more concerned about her previously well-deserved reputation for intelligence and integrity. This train wreck of a bill is yet another test, and her comfort is far less important than doing right by her fellow Mainers.

Peter d’Entremont
Blue Hill

Tax bill a win for Maine

As a small-business operator in the hotel and lodging industry, I know firsthand how important tax reform is for American families and businesses, especially small businesses, and for our national economy. I’d like to thank Sen. Susan Collins for her vote in support of the tax reform bill that just passed in the U.S. Senate.

You may be surprised to learn that most of the hotel industry is made up of small businesses like ours — three out of every five hotels, in fact. Maine Course Hospitality Group operates 13 hotels in Maine, all with local ownership. Here in Maine, the hospitality and hotel industry is a driver of the local economy, providing more than 53,000 jobs and generating $3.7 billion in sales each year. Nationwide, our industry supports more than 8 million jobs.

But tax reform benefits go beyond hotels. Tax reform will help level the playing field for small businesses in many sectors, allowing us to continue to grow, create more jobs and contribute to Maine’s economy.

Collins recognizes the urgent need for tax reform and how it will help to help American families and businesses, especially small businesses. This is a huge win for all Americans, and I’m proud to have Collins supporting us in Washington.

Jamey Kitchen
Corporate director of operations

Maine Course Hospitality Group

The County understands value of public preschool

The key to Maine’s future is doing our best to ensure Maine’s children have the opportunity, support and resources to succeed as adults. And the Mainers in Aroostook County seem to not only understand it, but are seeing positive results.

But maybe it is not so surprising. Although The County has a higher rate of poverty than the state and national average, it also boasts an extremely high rate of public preschool enrollment, with 80 percent of 4-year-olds enrolled in the program. In fact, Aroostook County has had the highest rate of public preschool enrollment in the state for the past 10 years.

Research shows that quality, early learning programs, like public preschool, can greatly improve outcomes for children, especially those living in poverty. Early childhood education provides children with a rich and stimulating environment in which to play, learn and grow during critical developmental years. As a result, children who attend public preschool are more likely to show up to kindergarten ready to learn, do better in school and graduate on time.

Maine could learn a lot from the success in Aroostook County. It’s clear that investing in our children early on matters. If we want to build a stronger state for our future, we need to start with a community-wide commitment to our youngest children.

Rita Furlow
Senior policy analyst

Maine Children’s Alliance