low-income Mainers

I am deeply disappointed in the recent votes for the tax bill by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District. Fairness and simplicity — the promised goals of tax reform — were given over to dramatic tax cuts for the wealthy and policy goals that had nothing to do with tax reform, like the repeal of a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act.

Following these big giveaways to wealthy individuals and corporations, Republican leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan say we can no longer afford to pay as much for programs that support health care, basic food security, and other essentials for low-income people. This is shocking. An article this year showed that the biggest contributors to economic growth in Maine are health care services. How can we grow if we cut programs that help and employ Mainers?

Historically, person of color communities have been underserved and less able to access opportunities to break out of poverty. Our youth get a second-rate education and often face unwelcoming bias in the judicial system. Cutting funding for health care programs that help person of color communities already facing deep poverty would lead to increased emergency room use and high mortality rates — in other words, a greater threat of death and suffering. We can help end systemic racism not only Maine, but in the United States, by protecting funding for these programs.

I hope that in 2018, when congressional Republican leaders try to make good on their promises to cut low-income programs, that Sen. Collins and Rep. Poliquin will feel a special responsibility to step up and stop them. It’s bad enough for Congress to shower unneeded tax breaks on the wealthy, it is simply wrong to pay for them by taking away health care, food assistance, and other help struggling Maine families really need.

Samarali Daniels

Augusta


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