Lamey-Wellehan owner: Don't extend tax cuts for richest Americans

AUBURN — A local business owner on Wednesday urged the state's congressional delegation to let the Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire at the end of the year.

Jim Wellehan, owner of the Lamey-Wellehan shoe stores, refuted arguments made by many Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that eliminating the tax break for businesses with profits of more than $250,000 a year would hurt economic and job growth.

Wellehan, a member of the Maine Small Business Coalition, said the tax cuts had little impact on most small businesses like his because most don't make the $250,000 in net profit to qualify. Instead, the break would benefit wealthy owners of hedge funds and law firms.

"It makes no sense, from any perspective, to preserve the tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country," Wellehan said. "It will just increase the wealth gap and create more of a social problem."

Wellehan's comments are a counterpoint to national organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which argues that letting the cuts expire on Dec. 31 would stunt small business growth when the economy could ill afford it.

That view is shared by Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Although the chamber hasn't taken an official position on the issue, Connors said he would argue for extending all of the cuts.

Connors said that despite encouraging signs of economic recovery, business owners needed a boost of confidence, which the extension would provide.

"Frankly, (ending the cuts) would discourage business owners from making business investments," Connors said.

However, Wellehan, along with the Maine Small Business Coalition and the Maine People's Alliance, said few small businesses benefit from the tax break.

Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan panel, in August reported that only 3 percent of taxpayers with any business income would benefit from tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

The panel also projected that extending the tax cuts would add $36 billion to the deficit in 2011.

Connors said the cost to the deficit would be repaid in job and business growth.

President Barack Obama has proposed extending the cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year and for individuals making less than $200,000, which is about 98 percent of American taxpayers.

Extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent has become a sticking point for Congress. The current Democratic majority in September postponed voting on extending the cuts until after the election.

The lame-duck session is expected to vote on an extension before the end of the year.

In a written statement, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, said he supported extending tax relief to the middle class and incentives for small businesses, "but our country can’t afford to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to provide tax cuts to the wealthy."

Wellehan hopes Congress heeds the advice of small business owners like him and puts the money it would cost to extend cuts for the wealthiest Americans into extending unemployment benefits.

The Maine People's Alliance claims 21,500 Mainers will lose their jobless benefits over the next few months if Congress doesn't extend unemployment insurance. The statistic is supported by the Maine Department of Labor, which on Tuesday released its latest unemployment data.

Wellehan said the tax cuts wouldn't benefit his business one way or another.

"It's not going to have any impact on the people who work here except to see the wealth discrepancy increase," he said. "Whether or not we're impacted isn't critical; it's whether society functions as it should."

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RONALD RIML's picture

Or pay off a $ worth of debt and eternally compounding interest

- But that would make too much sense.

The Republicans are offering you instant gratification now - as they have been doing with their unfunded tax cuts since Reagan - or you can keep paying interest until China and Japan own us.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Veritas...government doesn't

Veritas...government doesn't have to fund tax cuts. They only have to cut spending to offset them which they are everlastingly against doing. Lower taxes almost always generate more tax revenue. Neumann's law of anti-gravity. 0O:-)

RONALD RIML's picture

So the tax rates under Reagan were no good???

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nice, but can you believe

Nice, but can you believe anything that comes out of Washington? Mark my words; the republicans will screw this up. They have the opportunity to change and undo a lot of oBAMa's doings, but they will find a way to screw it up.
One thing I need you to explain to me, though. Why does the left so hate Sarah Palin? I would think you'd all be doing everything possible to get her to run for president in 012. She represents the only chance oBAMa has of being re-elected.

RONALD RIML's picture

Left hate Sarah Palin??

We'd simply rather the 'Right' run a grown-up for President. The office really demands that, no matter which side one is on.

RONALD RIML's picture

Law of Insanity

Every Republican Tax Cut since Reagan's has resulted in higher National Debt during their Administrations, increased revenue not withstanding.

Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

So why should it be different any other time??

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yes, absolutely true, but the

Yes, absolutely true, but the reason is that they don't reduce their SPENDING. That's the whole key to it, but we can't seem to get the suckers to understand that part of it.

RONALD RIML's picture

But you go through the same drill every time hoping next time

it will be different. And it never, never is.

So simply quit the insanity in the first place. Raise the freakin' taxes, then quit spending.

But you won't.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You and I both know the taxes

You and I both know the taxes would go UP, but the spending would remain business as usual, and, it will remain so until we elect politicians of a different mind set (might have to colonize Mars to do that) or upheave the whole system and begin anew. We did it once.

RONALD RIML's picture

Who'se this "We?" You playin' with

The One-Eyed Pocket Snake again????

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Don't get your drift. What're

Don't get your drift. What're you saying?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The left has done a really

The left has done a really great job of selling the "tax cuts for the rich" baloney.
What about all the middle class working stiffs who saw their income tax rates drop from 33% to 28% due to the Bush tax cuts? Those don't exist? Only the rich benefitted from the cuts? What a line. And what's this about "we can't afford to spend money on tax cuts for the rich? You don't SPEND money on tax cuts; the government simply GETS LESS money to spend on their special interest entitlement programs.

 's picture

Thank you, Mr. Wellehan

I appreciate your candor. Your viewpoint has been stated before by the more honest people who don't represent the Chamber or have their own personal interests at heart. Now, if you could only convince Senators Snowe and Collins to be more honest and up front and vote to repeal this tax break for the rich. For Dana Connors to state that the revenues lost by keeping the tax break for the rich would be made up in jobs is an obvious falsehood since these companies have historically not been hiring even in the good times. And, the one thing this last election cycle told us was that the Chamber of Commerce does not care one bit about the rest of us Americans. All it cares about is making the rich richer. So, as I have stated before, we Americans need to stand up and be counted in the next election cycle. We need more than 55% (in the State of Maine) of the registered voters to vote.


The unfortunate thing with

The unfortunate thing with this whole debate on extending tax cuts for all vs not for those making over a certain amount is that it caters to demagogues who want to instill class warfare in this country. The total amount of taxes this would bring in is miniscule as compared to the damage it would do to the country. Class warfare as well as racial, national origin etc. warfare or discrimination is damaging to our country. The U.S.A. was created as a nation where all are treated equally and it is time we remember this. The rich already pay more in taxes than the rest of us do. To tax a person or firm too highly is to take away the incentive to work harder and produce more. If cuts are good for us, they are goood for all.

RONALD RIML's picture

Did you ever swallow it hook, line and sinker......

P.S. - We weren't created as a nation where all were treated equally.

- That's why some have excellent health care - and others don't.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Good point, V...the best

Good point, V...the best healthcare available is at the disposal of congress and the white house. Why don't they provide ALL Americans with the same healthcare coverage that THEY enjoy? That would make us ALL equal in that regard, wouldn't it? I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to sign on to that deal.

RONALD RIML's picture

Oh, there's plenty that wouldn't......

I posted here that I was plenty willing to up the taxes I pay so that everybody was given quality health care. Got many more 'disagrees' than 'agrees'

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yeah, but you're offering

Yeah, but you're offering "quality" healthcare. I'm talking about the Cadillac plan that the elitists in government have. Good enough for them; ought to be good enough for the rest of us.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Another one; whould you pay

Another one; whould you pay 15 cents more per gallon at the pump to have them take all of the ethanol out of the gasoline? Most of us would get back 6-8 mpg that were lost with the introduction of ethanol.

RONALD RIML's picture

And pizz off all the farmers.

Who would then find new outlets for all that corn fructose and make our kids even fatter - so then the cars have to be bigger yet, and there goes the mileage.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Cars were doing just fine

Cars were doing just fine until the government decided it would control what we put into them, on top of screwing up the whole corn market with their subsidies.

RONALD RIML's picture

'Water-Carriers for the Wealthy' will accuse him of Class Envy!!

'Water-Carriers for the Wealthy' will accuse him of Class Envy!!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Pretty crafty, V....who's the

Pretty crafty, V....who's the chick next to Beck?

RONALD RIML's picture

Ms. Malkin, I presume.....

But hey, it's all only a "Google Images" away from 'right wing whack jobs' or some such criteria..... ;)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nah, the one to his right,

Nah, the one to his right, front row.

RONALD RIML's picture

Another Michel(l)e - Bachmann!

Representative(R) from Minnesota. A Tea-total Whack-job who wants her fellow Representatives investigated for their "Americanism" Probably carries the ashes of Tail-Gunner Joe around in her Tail.

The 10 Craziest Michele Bachmann Quotes

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Ahh. Looks a little like Mary

Ahh. Looks a little like Mary Tyler Moore in her hay day.

RONALD RIML's picture

I'm sure you have much better business acumen, Gilliam

That's why your contracting business runs itself while you're on the Forum here..... Right Boss.....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Can you prove they don't?

Can you prove they don't?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Oh, a few things like Chris

Oh, a few things like Chris Dodd and Barney Fwank creating the housing mess while Wall Street collapsed might have had a little to do with massive job losses. But who knows? Surely, it was Bush's fault. But one thing is for sure, the current mess, which is almost 2 years running, is certainly not the Community Organizer-in-Chief's fault.

 's picture


It is nice to see a small business owner who sees the truth. Dana Connors should be ashamed of himself. Most small buisness owners are lucky to see a profit of a few thousand, but never in the 250 thousand range. If the tax cuts are so important, where are the jobs? Not one has been created because of the Bush Tax Cuts.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You appear to be one of the

You appear to be one of the few on this page who understand that, mainiac in vt.

Linda Sherwood's picture

Wish there were more like Jim Wellehan...

Well said, Jim! When President Clinton was in Lewiston on October 31st, he also spoke out against extending the tax cuts to the "millionaires like me who have more money than we can spend in a lifetime!" Granted, in our society, it is wonderful to have opportunity to reach for the stars to make as much money as we want to, but when there are elderly and disabled people who are losing out on any tax breaks after working hard all their lives, there is something out of balance.

I would strongly encourage readers to contact their legislators to let them know how extending the tax cuts to the top 2% will not help the challenging economy, but will only extend the crisis we are in.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I guess that's one way of

I guess that's one way of drumming up a little business for the shoe store.

 's picture

Look behind the curtains there is a wizard

If only we could believe this we would not be in the mess we are in! Golden parachutes for anyone making the big bucks? They work well for a few, "dam-few" who do not need it. We have cut the elderly and disabled to the quick along with our children. While giving major welfare to the thief's who stole bank and corporate money in form of million dollar BONUSES and the right defends this.... We also give BIG raises to government workers both state and federal while working class takes cuts and loose equity. They use homophobia, gun control, job promises and abortion to get the sheep to follow the fox news folks right into the hen house. The only hope we have left now is for the rapture, in terms of creating jobs for us "so called" scum bag liberals. If we give them more money they will likely ship more jobs overseas. Hence: they do not pay taxes on their S Corps either. Impressive choice Robert Nutting will make as speaker of the house. For us Mainers and experienced thief who already robbed all of us taxpayers only about a million. His experience at rewarding himself and getting away with it will be instrumental regarding the next big giveaway to the rich of our grandparents and grandchildren's money. Stay the course, mission accomplished the country is in ruins and we have Obama to take blame for all of our sins. Maybe he is a prophet. Now they can rob us, blame Obama and get control of the rest of our money and retirement accounts while depreciating our real-estate. They own so much from the people's homes, property and equity they repossessed AFTER their bail-outs. Rant over!


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