LEWISTON — Standing before a monument etched with the words, "The Price of Freedom," about a dozen Maine People's Alliance activists and several veterans rallied Monday on Main Street.
They are urging Congress to act in the final months of the year to eliminate tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. Those tax cuts, the group said, benefit only the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
Doris McNally of Leeds stood holding a sign that read "Keep promises to Vets." She said she was there for her recently deceased brother, a Vietnam-era veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kyle Smith, a U.S. Army veteran from Auburn, said they are asking Congress and, in particular, Maine's U.S. senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, to support eliminating those tax breaks that apply to people earning more than $250,000 a year.
"Sens. Snowe and Collins have to decide who's going to pay more for deficit reduction," Smith said. "The richest 2 percent of Americans who have enjoyed years of tax breaks, or the rest of us who have been struggling to get by as wages stagnate, our jobs get shipped overseas and the costs of health care and education skyrocket. This is a question of fundamental fairness."
Bettyann Sheats of Auburn, a recent candidate for the Maine House of Representatives, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, said the amount of new revenue from rolling back those tax breaks would be enormous.
"To give it more perspective, you could buy every single homeless veteran in this country a home with just 93 days of revenue that would come from ending the Bush tax rate for the top 2 percent," Sheats said.
She also urged Snowe and Collins to "stand with veterans and working families and seniors and support" letting the Bush-era tax rates expire for the top 2 percent of earners.