Here we are in August. It’s the dog days of summer, and the Legislature is supposed to come back to wrap things up. I hope we can believe them this time.
We need to move three very important sets of legislation forward to get the people’s business done.
I had hoped the Legislature would have completed its business by now and adjourned sine die so I could call a special session to deal exclusively with the reforms to the child welfare system.
I had wanted to protect those critical bills from being held hostage in a political battle of wills in the Legislature.
However, we cannot continue to wait while the Democrats dilly-dally by holding tax conformity hostage so they can get taxpayer-funded Clean Elections money to run their campaigns.
So I decided to submit several bills that will improve our child welfare programs. I hope that when the legislators come back, they will take the opportunity to pass my two other priorities: tax conformity and reforming the municipal foreclosure process to protect our elderly.
When it comes to conforming state law to the new federal tax code, the Legislature’s delay will likely force people who took tax deductions for medical expenses in 2017 to have to file amended returns.
Aligning the state to the federal code usually requires minor fixes. But because the federal tax reform was comprehensive, we must make changes in a way that does not increase Mainers’ taxes.
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and other Democrats just don’t get how critical tax conformity is for our businesses and Maine people. They’ve left businesses in tax limbo for more than seven months.
Businesses thrive when their regulatory environment is predictable and stable. Knowing how to pay your taxes and what rate you will be taxed at is a critical part of that. Yet, Democrats keep our business climate as unstable and unpredictable as possible.
Not conforming will force businesses to keep two sets of books this year–one for federal laws, and one for state laws. It will cause chaos next January when individuals and businesses have no ability to file state taxes.
But Speaker Gideon and the Democrats still have time to avoid the major filing headaches for businesses and families next January. And time is of the essence. If they do not act now, we will be forced to create a whole new layer of bureaucracy just to collect the different set of taxes.
As you go about enjoying summer in Maine, I encourage you to take a minute to reach out to your Legislators and ask them to pass child welfare reform, tax conformity and my proposed amendment to the elderly foreclosure bill.
If the Legislature can’t do that this summer, you will know what to do when you go to the polls in the fall.