July 18, 2019

Reject bad taxing idea

An April 19 editorial, “Roth Complaint,” outlines a tax-cutting gimmick being considered by Congress and suggests that the public will not voice its objections. But I suspect this will draw more public concern than you expect, particularly as people hear more about it.

What Congress wants is to rewrite the rules on retirement savings in both traditional and Roth IRAs, which would require rich people to pay some taxes now but avoid paying far more later. Congress would allocate that extra near-term tax revenue to fund another tax cut for the wealthy.

The entire measure is nothing more than a cynical end-run around Senate rules intended to preserve fiscal responsibility. And however you cut it, the deal would send the lion’s share of the benefits to the wealthiest among us.

Meanwhile, another result will be more federal debt for our children to repay. This added debt burden will drain resources we need to create opportunity and maintain a good standard of living here and across the country.

This IRA-taxation gimmick runs counter to values that most Mainers hold dear – among them financial prudence, economic fairness and the importance of investing, particularly investments that will make the future brighter for our children.

We in Maine tend to see through such gimmicks. We insist on an honest accounting that leads to sound public policy. In 1976, for example, Maine passed the first bottle bill in the nation in large part because the public was so outraged by the container industry’s trying to buy the election and defeat a Maine initiative.

I’m guessing Mainers will see through this bad taxing idea and make their objections clear. And let’s hope our representatives in Washington listen and follow the lead of their constituents, even if it means bucking their party leadership.

Dianne Stetson


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