Apples to Apples and Maine’s Top 1%

Much to the chagrin of knee-jerk Republicans who gleefully championed the repeal of the Democrats’ “tax on fun” reform law in 2009, Governor LePage rolled out a budget this year that taxes even more fun.

And, for supporters of tax reform, its fun to watch haughty know-it-alls back peddle and talk out both sides of their mouth about fiscal conservatism as they rally to support now what they fought then, namely, lowering income taxes by increasing and broadening the sales tax.

Democrats, on the other hand, have come out swinging against the Governor’s proposal, stressing the unfairness of a plan that will give families making $40,000 only $145 in tax relief, while doling out $10,000 in tax cuts to the top one percent of earners.

It’s outrageous!

Except that the Democrats’ plan rewarded the top earners even more than what’s being proposed by Governor LePage.

In the Democrats’ tax reform law, the same quintile of families as the ones making $40,000 now would have received a $47 tax cut, while the top 1% of earners would have received $3252.

So, in other words, the spread is the same — the proportion of benefits between the 4th quintile of earners under the Democrats plan is the same as it is under the Governor’s proposal.

More importantly, perhaps, to those fighting the good fight for the beleaguered 99%, under the Democrats’ proposal the top 1% of earners would have received 72% of overall tax cuts, whereas under the Governor’s proposal, the top 1% is projected to reap just 26% of the overall share of benefits.

The bottom line? Tax reform is not for knee-jerks.

Or, great minds think alike.

Cynthia Dill

About Cynthia Dill

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights attorney with the Portland firm Troubh Heisler. She has served as a state senator and representative, and she is the former Democratic nominee in Maine's 2012 U.S. Senate race. She holds a BA from the University of Vermont and a JD from Northeastern University. She is admitted in the U.S. District Courts for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. Dill lives in Cape Elizabeth with her husband Tom and their two children.