MPA Statement on Budget Deal


The "fiscal cliff" was a political creation that treated foundational programs like unemployment insurance and Social Security - programs many Mainers depend upon for survival - as political bargaining chips. Our members spoke up loudly to demand an end to the Bush tax cuts on earned income above $250,000/year, and MPA members were vocal about the need to protect and strengthen programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Over the past two months, thousands of Mainers took action with MPA to support these common-sense budget solutions.

November's election demonstrated that a majority of voters across the country support ending tax breaks for the wealthy. In a sluggish economy, a plan that slashed unemployment insurance would have crushed millions of Americans struggling to find work and forced families to choose between food on the table and prescriptions for children. This is not a choice that any family should have to make, and we are glad that an extension of unemployment insurance was included in the bill that Congress passed.

This bill raises $620 billion over 10 years, but $1.5 trillion in budget cuts were already enacted last year; that means for every one dollar in new taxes there have been 2.5 dollars in spending cuts. While we believe that this legislation could have done more to increase needed revenue and invest that money in job creation, we are glad that Senator Susan Collins, Senator Olympia Snowe, Rep. Chellie Pingree, and Rep. Mike Michaud supported this legislation, which takes a small step toward ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes and which protects health care and retirement security programs. However, the willingness of many members of Congress to play games with programs people depend upon for survival is deeply discouraging, we hope that in the future our Congressional leaders find the political will to put the needs of the middle class ahead of the desires of millionaires.