December 13, 2017
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Angus King failed Maine on tax reform

By Eric Brakey, Special to the BDN
Updated:
J. Scott Applewhite | AP | BDN
J. Scott Applewhite | AP | BDN
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, does a TV news interview after telling the Senate last night that the Republican effort to overhaul the tax code should be slowed down in order to hold hearings on the massive $1.4 trillion bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017.

Last week, the Senate passed a tax reform bill that will benefit Maine families and small businesses. It’s the first such major reform in more than 30 years, and there is no doubt America’s tax code is sorely in need of reform.

But Sen. Angus King refused to vote for this much-needed tax reform bill, and in the days leading up to the Senate vote, he didn’t focus his opposition on substantive policy debate.

Instead, he opted for procedural maneuvering and national media appearances to help Democratic leadership spin their message about tax reform. He tried to ram through a procedural motion to avoid voting up or down on the bill. That reeks of swamp-style Washington politics.

[Angus King: I’m all for tax reform, but this isn’t it]

Then, on MSNBC and CNN, King claimed that tax reform was being pushed hurriedly through Congress. King and congressional Democrats are also claiming that handwritten notes in the margins of the Senate bill indicate the legislation was rushed through, but individual tax reform policies contained within the bill have been part of congressional discussions for years.

The Senate Finance Committee has been vetting tax reform since 21 pages of recommendations for tax reform were first introduced in 2011. Since then, there have been at least 70 hearings about needed changes to the tax code, and five bipartisan working groups that have vetted our nation’s tax policy.

King’s actions in the days preceding the tax reform vote weren’t meant to help Mainers. Instead, they were meant to help Washington liberals advance their message and their never-satisfied goal of taking more of your money to stuff the government coffers.

He showed his true colors once again, proving himself to be anything but independent. That’s no way to stand up for your constituents.

One of my core beliefs is that your property is your property. You and your family worked to earn it, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted that a large chunk of it belongs to the government. The thinking in Washington is totally backward — politicians lay claim to your money before you’ve even earned it, planning pet projects and making promises to lobbyists. That’s why there’s an uproar every time we talk about tax cuts.

We need to reverse that mode of thought, and start from the premise that tax cuts don’t mean something is being taken away from the government, but that Americans are able to keep more of what is theirs in the first place.

[Maine’s small businesses are counting on Congress to deliver on tax reform]

The Senate tax reform bill that passed last week is not perfect — nothing government does ever will be — but it’s a step in the right direction. Under the Senate bill that passed, families will see the child tax credit double, single filers will see their standard deduction jump to $12,000, and married couples will see their standard deduction jump to $24,000. Individual tax rates will drop, and thanks to amendments proposed by Sen. Susan Collins, the Senate tax reform bill also includes a deduction for property taxes, and a lower threshold for medical deductions.

That’s money for people to keep in their pockets, and that’s money that will make a real difference to Mainers and working families all across America.

The Tax Foundation estimates that the Senate tax reform bill would result in close to 1 million new jobs across the country and a nearly 4 percent increase in the size of our economy.

Yet, King voted against all of these reforms.

I’m running against King for the Senate because I believe Maine needs someone in that seat who will work hard for you, your family, your property and your liberty. As your senator, I pledge to protect your paycheck, not the power players in Washington.

Eric Brakey is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. He currently represents District 20 in the Maine Senate.

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