by Jennifer Mitchell
Maine Public news story
WASHINGTON, D.C – Maine Independent Sen. Angus King says he’s “angry” and “disappointed” over the passage of the $1.4 trillion GOP tax overhaul bill.
“The American people deserve better,” says King. King said Saturday that there was ample opportunity to gather expert input on the bill’s actual effects. “But instead of digging in and doing the hard work, this Senate has decided to pass a bill that helps the few instead of the many, and shifts a massive financial burden onto our children.”
Sen. King has said repeatedly that he feels the legislation was rushed.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine is also signaling disappointment over the result, for a provision that would open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
“This provision is deeply offensive. It was slipped into the tax bill as a give-away to the oil industry.” says Lisa Pohlmann, executive director of NRCM. “We recognize that further negotiations will be necessary on the tax bill, which is why we urge Senator Collins to do everything possible to prevent a bill from going to the President’s desk that opens the Arctic to drilling.”
Other provisions, says Pohlmann, could cause “radical harm” to the renewable energy industry, which she says employs thousands of people in Maine.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, a key vote, who held out for some amendments to the Senate version of the bill, voted in favor of the tax overhaul. Among amendments offered: homeowners could deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, the personal income tax rate for the wealthiest earners remains unchanged, and the cut to the corporate tax rate would be smaller.
The vote was a strongly partisan one, 51-49 , with only Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., splitting with his party.
The bill must still be reconciled with a House version already passed.
Meanwhile, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, says he didn’t feel the congressional bill was perfect in the first place, and he approves of the amendments offered by Sen. Collins. “I look forward to continuing our work, across the aisle and across the Capitol, to finish this landmark tax reform proposal to help our Maine families keep more of their hard-earned money and to giving our small businesses—the backbone of Maine’s economy—relief so they can grow and create more jobs for our fellow Mainers.”