Conservative radio host Ray Richardson and I agree (on one thing) about taxes

This week on the Beacon podcast, we discuss right-wing radio host Ray Richardson’s latest rant. Besides describing me with some colorful language, he mostly focused on how the Universal Home Care referendum is funded by closing tax loopholes that benefit the top one percent. Of course, he specifically objected to wealthy people paying at least as much in taxes as everyone else. But at least he reaffirmed that we’re talking about a small slice of the wealthiest people in Maine, the top 1.6 percent of individual wage earners, to be exact.

That’s a fact about which the opposition to the referendum has been deliberately deceitful. The referendum makes it clear that any income earned by an individual over $128,400 will be subject to a 3.8 percent combined payroll tax to make sure seniors and people with disabilities have the care they need to stay at home.

Right now, everyone making less than $128,400 already pays a 12.4 percent combined payroll tax on all their income, while income above that amount isn’t taxed at all. This wealthiest 1.6% has also received four major tax breaks in the last eight years. The initiative will make our tax system a bit more fair in order to address a critical need.

I’m sure that some opponents of the measure are going to continue to try to imply that the tax will somehow affect more people, but, for all his other misrepresentations, Richardson isn’t one of them.

He and I may disagree about whether the wealthy should pay more of their fair share of taxes or whether, as he put it “the ninety-nine percent ride the coattails of the one percent,” but at least we can agree on the fundamental terms of the debate.

Ray Richardson (Photo: WLOB/Facebook)

Sign up for Beacon newsletters

Our newsletter, sent each evening, curates the day's most important stories from newsrooms around Maine.