This is State Representative Nathan Carlow with the Republican Weekly Radio Address.
The Revenue Forecasting Committee has projected a 9.7 percent increase in revenues for the next biennium. That translates into $822 million for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. The Committee prefaced the report with a reminder of the very uncertain economic conditions that persist in Maine and nationwide. According the Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee :
Inflation expectations have increased considerably in recent months and are much higher than what the Federal Reserve Bank previously expected; there is risk of continued inflation through 2021 and 2022. Interest rates are expected to begin increasing sooner than previously anticipated.
The increases in revenue have come primarily from individual income and sales taxes and given the difficulties Mainers have faced over the last two years the money should have never been taken in the first place. This revenue suggests that the state is taking more than it needs from Mainers. House Republicans want to return most of this money to the people who earned it the people impacted by rising prices, government mismanagement, and misplaced priorities.
If given a chance by voters to lead, Republicans want to lower taxes. We need to reduce the sales tax and the individual income tax so that the money taken by the government is better aligned with the cost of government rather than continuing to take in more than what is needed and using the extra to grow government.
In the short-term, we have used our minority status to do the best we can for Mainers. Our most recent achievement was diverting $150 million away from new programs and returning those funds directly to taxpayers in the form of $285 checks currently being issued to tax filers across Maine.
Again, that money should never have been taken from you in the first place.
Republicans pushed for income tax relief totaling an estimated $300 million for the same individuals who worked during the pandemic. Our original plan would have provided a tax cut for 2020 by exempting an additional $10,200 in income from state income tax. Our intention was to provide the same tax benefit to workers that those who received unemployment compensation received.
The Republican $10,200 exemption proposal would have provided an estimated average tax cut of $750, not the $285 that many Mainers are receiving.
Our proposal was rebuffed by Democrats unwilling to give up new spending.
There should be a credit given to employer providing their employees with time to take care of family affected by COVID.
The rapidly rising cost of living is hitting Mainers hard, especially those on fixed incomes.
They are the result of feel-good policies that drive up the cost of living for all but the super wealthy. The impact of these policies is increasingly being felt by individuals and families trying to work, put food on their tables, purchase goods, fill their gas tanks, and heat their homes.
Legislative Republicans fully support giving most of the $822 million dollars directly to Mainers. If the majority party is willing, we will work collaboratively and in good faith with them to return money to the people.
Energy costs are skyrocketing, home and auto fuel prices are the highest they’ve been in eight years, and inflation for consumer goods and basic necessities is at the highest rate in forty years.
People across the country recognize that the increased presence of government in our daily lives is not resulting in things getting better.
Maine House Republicans are committed to making life easier for Mainers, not harder. We are on your side during these difficult times.
This has been Representative Nathan Carlow with the Republican Radio Address, thank you for listening and sharing our message with others.