In Maine, we know the value of our children and families. Maine children are our future workers, leaders and parents. As a result, we need a tax plan that is going to make smart investments in hardworking Maine children and families and the future of our state.
However, the Senate is set to vote this week on a tax bill that is not only harmful to our children and families but out of line with what we value as Mainers. It will not only raise taxes for working Maine families and give many others only trivial tax reductions; it will also decimate the very investments they count on to help their kids get ahead.
While more than one in ten Maine families will experience a tax increase in 2019, the expansion to the Child Tax Credit is woefully inadequate. The Child Tax Credit is an effective program for working families with children to provide some modest support for the cost of raising children. Research shows that children benefit from even minor increases in family income. Unfortunately, the Senate Tax Plan provides only trivial increases to the families from low-income households that need it the most. The Senate ought to be strengthening the Child Tax Credit by making it fully refundable for eligible families. This will improve outcomes for our kids.
The bill also revives attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by repealing the individual mandate, which would leave more Mainers without health care coverage. It’s clear that children benefit when their parents have access to quality, affordable health care. First, children are more likely to have health insurance if their parents have coverage, regardless of eligibility status. Second, children need healthy parents to raise them. Third, when parents have health insurance, they are less likely to fall into financial ruin as a result of medical bills.
Finally, the tax bill is estimated to cost $1.5 trillion, paving the way for future cuts to critical programs that Maine children and families rely on the make ends meet, get out of poverty and becoming thriving members of the community.
A stronger Maine starts with strong families and communities. If we want Maine to thrive, we need to start with a bipartisan tax bill that promotes the health, well-being and economic success of our children and families. The current tax bill in the Senate clearly misses the mark.