U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (AP file photo)

Calling for “fairer and lower taxes for Maine families,” U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin on Thursday said of his initial review of a proposed sweeping tax overhaul in Congress that it “could have a significant impact on the amount of take-home pay in people’s paychecks.”

The House plan unveiled Thursday calls for slicing corporate taxes and paring income taxes for most Americans, while preserving popular retirement programs, deductions for charitable giving and the earned income tax credit that helps workers who don’t earn much.

“Our primary focus must be how we help our Maine small businesses grow and create more jobs,” the 2nd District Republican said in a prepared statement. “Our focus needs to be on Maine.”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Cole Leiter said, however, that “at its core, this tax plan is a scheme to raise taxes on middle-class Americans in order to cut taxes for corporations and the very rich.”

He said Poliquin is getting ready “to walk the plank on yet another unpopular bill that hurts the middle class.”


U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a 1st District Democrat, said in a comment on Twitter that the GOP plan would add trillions to the national debt “at the expense of workers, homeowners, future generations who’ll bear financial burden.”

Poliquin, who is running for re-election next year, said Maine “stands to benefit greatly if we see significant changes in the rates, and a change in the income thresholds for those at lower incomes and for working families.”

One of the provisions in the new plan would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to four, leaving rates the same for the richest Americans.

For most people, the biggest difference may be that fewer Americans will benefit from citing specific deductions to offset their income.

The proposal would nearly double the standard deductions to $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for individuals. It would also expand the child tax credit from $1,000 each to $1,600.

The flip side of that, however, is that mortgage interest deductions will be capped at $500,000 on future home purchases. There won’t be a change for existing homes, though.


Moreover, deductions for local and state taxes will be capped at $10,000, something that would impact many families in high-tax states such as Maine.

The proposal also phases out the estate tax, an unnecessary move, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, told Bloomberg News this week.

Another concern Collins mentioned – maintaining the tax rate for millionaires – was included in the House bill.

Poliquin said he supports “maintaining a progressive tax code and therefore I support maintaining the current top rate for million-dollar-plus earners.”

State Sen. Eric Brakey, an Auburn Republican seeking to claim a U.S. Senate seat next year, called the proposal a “pro-growth, pro-taxpayer and pro-little guy” measure that he’s “very excited” about.

The tax measure would add $1.5 trillion to the national debt during the next decade, but proponents insist it will bolster the economy enough to warrant an increase in what America owes. The national debt is $20.4 trillion and is expected, not counting the costs associated with this tax bill, to reach $24.2 trillion by the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

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