Volunteers with the Maine People's Alliance visited the offices of Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins in Augusta to urge them to vote with the people of Maine and end the Bush-era tax breaks for individuals who make over $250,000 a year.
The activists presented the Senators' staffers with copies of more than 50 letters and editorials written in support of ending tax breaks for the wealthy that were published in major newspapers across the state in just the last few weeks. The letters serve as a reminder that a strong majority of Mainers support ending tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy as a way to avert the budget showdown in Washington.
Rachel Sukeforth of Litchfield, one of those making the deliveries today, saw this consensus first hand as she campaigned for the State House of Representatives over the past year. Last week, a recount showed she had come up only four votes short against a Republican incumbent in a conservative district.
"I want Senators Snowe and Collins to know that I just don't see why, when so many working Mainers like myself and my family are struggling to make ends meet, that our tax rates are being held hostage to protect the incomes of a tiny sliver of very wealthy people," said Sukeforth.
A recent poll conducted by the Maine People's Resource Center found that not only did Mainers support tax fairness, but 55.3% of voters believed that increasing taxes on the wealthy would help the economy. Only 29.2% percent thought it would hurt the economy.
"We want to make sure that Senators Snowe and Collins realize that their constituents are watching the budget negotiations in Washington very closely and have been speaking out on this issue for months" said MPA organizer Jonathan Hillier. "A strong majority of Americans and Mainers have made it very clear that they would rather see tax rates for the wealthy return to Clinton-era levels than see deep cuts to important programs like Medicare and Social Security," said Hillier.
The Maine People's Alliance is also launching an online postcard campaign to continue the drumbeat of support for tax fairness. Mainers can send a free postcard to Senators Snowe and Collins and Senator-elect Angus King by visiting www.mainepeoplesalliance.org/2percent.
MPA canvassers are also knocking on doors throughout the state in order to rally support for tax fairness.
If Congress fails to negotiate $1.2 trillion in savings over the next ten years, a series of deep across-the-board budget cuts to important education, healthcare and retirement programs will be instituted. Ending Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 a year is projected to provide $1 trillion over that same period of time. Senators Snowe and Collins will play an important role in these negotiations and neither has yet signaled a willingness to end Bush tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000.