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Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017: Maine wins under tax bill, Sen. Collins’ tax snake oil, poor students disadvantaged

Maine wins under tax bill

American companies are at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors in foreign countries. In Maine and across the country, businesses are subject to a tax structure that makes it harder for us to compete in foreign markets.

When businesses and workers told Sen. Susan Collins about how the current tax code hurts our ability to compete, she listened. Thanks to her leadership and persistence, Congress is taking important steps to fix the broken tax code for the first time in three decades.

The current tax system puts American companies at a unique disadvantage. The bill moving through Congress would finally allow U.S. companies earning money overseas to bring those earnings back to invest in the U.S. without penalty. Almost every major economy in the world uses a territorial tax system. It’s time the United States does, too.

As the plant manager of the GE Power facility in Bangor, I appreciate that Collins refuses to accept the status quo. If we level the playing field and operate under the same rules as our foreign competitors, companies like GE can compete and win global deals. That means workers in Bangor win, and so do our suppliers in Maine and nationwide.

U.S. businesses and American workers deserve a tax code that works for them instead of against them. With Collins’ leadership, Congress soon will pass a tax bill that will help grow our economy and make U.S. companies more competitive around the world.

Eric Anderson

Plant manager

GE Power

Bangor

Collins sells snake oil on taxes

My dismay at Sen. Susan Collins voting for the wretched tax bill has only increased as the rationale she offers for doing so is so flimsy and indefensible.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made certain promises about fixes to the health care system that will be severely damaged by the tax bill. There is no assurance that the required legislation can get through the Senate, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said that he feels no obligation to pass any such bills. All the funds “saved” in the Affordable Care Act by repealing its individual mandate are subsidies to allow low-income citizens to afford to sign up. An estimated 13 million people will lose their health care coverage.

When confronted on a recent Sunday talk show about the massive increase to U.S. debt if the tax bill were to become law, Collins resorted to the discredited notion that the tax bill will increase economic activity enough to offset this tax cut and actually lower the debt. A snake-oil salesman could not have said it better.

My general admiration for Collins as a sensible and thoughtful legislator is blown away by this transparent and self-serving nonsense. Her character and good judgment are undermined so long as she backs the highly partisan and totally skewed tax bill.

Collins has a chance to redeem herself and restore her reputation as a conscientious senator by voting against the final text of the tax bill when it comes back to the Senate.

James Matlack

Rockport

Poor students disadvantaged

I was recently taken aback by a claim made in the recent BDN OpEd “4 ways we can all support students in poverty.” Professor Catharine Biddle asserted that assuming teachers are doing their best for impoverished students is a meaningful way to “advocate for change.” It would be comforting to believe this assumption is a safe one. But doing so would only be detrimental to such students as it calls people to ignore reparable flaws in the educational system.

The schools I have attended have revealed that the best is not being done for poor students. Rather, these students are penalized for their financial situations. I have witnessed students receiving poor grades and extensive feedback on projects lacking scrapbooking decorations and colored photographs, despite having been made with obvious effort. I have been in classrooms where students are publicly mocked for being unable to complete online homework assignments in homes where computers and WiFi are not affordable commodities. Impoverished students who are working their hardest to succeed are being discriminated against and discouraged from furthering their education, leading to an inescapable cycle of poverty.

While many teachers are sensitive to economic factors that may prohibit students from participating on an equal-playing field as their classmates, others are not aware of this inequality. Our future educators should be trained more thoroughly in social work and be prepared for poor students’ inability to meet the same aesthetic quality of work as that of middle- and upper-class students.

Lauren Potter

Glenburn

Tax bill benefits wealthy

There is a classic advertisement by a Swiss watchmaker that shows a mother wearing a watch holding her daughter with the tagline that “You never actually own a Patek Philippe — You merely take care of it for the next generation.” The watch shown in the ad retails for $41,800, but if you shop online you can buy if for a mere $33,440. The brilliance of this ad is that it somehow gets people to spend more than $33,000 for a watch that won’t keep any better time than the dozen or so watches at Walmart that you can buy for less than $35.

When the House and the Senate pass the tax cut, more very wealthy people will be able to afford to buy expensive Swiss watches to be part of their legacy they can pass on to their children. But what will be the legacy for the children of the mother who works in your local nursing home? Congress is rushing forward without any hearings or public comments to pass the tax cuts mainly for the wealthy.

But apparently Congress does not have the time nor the inclination to reauthorize funds for the Children Health Insurance Program, which is a program to allow the purchase of health insurance for the children whose parents “make too much money” to qualify for Medicaid. What does this say about our country’s priorities and values?

Jeffrey Lovit

Addison

 



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