Stopping Trump and LePage’s new tax giveaway to the wealthy, explained with GIFs

This GIFsplanation is the first in a new series and was constructed with research support from Sarah Austin, policy analyst at the Maine Center for Economic Policy.


You’ve heard by now that Trump’s tax plan is a massive bonanza for corporations and the rich. Especially the really rich.






Over the next 10 years, more than 80% of the benefit will go to the top 1%. Example: the nation’s 175,000 richest families will get an average tax cut of $700,000 (enough to buy a new 50-foot yacht), while the bottom 20% get $60.




This is not a drill. It’s the biggest wealth grab in modern history. For real.






OK, so how does it affect Maine? Didn’t LePage already give the wealthiest families in the state a huge tax cut? Didn’t the legislature just repeal the voter-approved 3% surcharge for income over $200,000? Are we doomed? YES, YES, and NO.





You know how when you file your taxes, you pay both state and federal? (State taxes for things like education; federal taxes for things like Social Security – unless you make over $127,500, after which point you stop paying into Social Security, but I digress…)





In some parts of our tax code, lawmakers have decided over the years that rather than craft our own set of tax laws, the state would simply mirror federal law. This is called “conformity” in tax jargon.





So are we then forced into a nightmare scenario of expanded state tax loopholes for corporations that prioritize capital investment over jobs, a “free pass” on the first $22 million in estates for the 20 richest families, and increased taxes for most low- and middle-income Mainers???





Tax conformity does not happen automatically.

Maine is under no obligation whatsoever to conform to Trump’s Tax Plan, or whatever Governor LePage might scheme up in his final, lame-duck year in office.





There are plenty of places where Maine’s tax code differs from the federal government’s. Lawmakers always have the choice to conform… or not.






We could even…do something better.










Allow for the plunder of tens of millions of dollars in funding for public services in order to give tax cuts to wealthy households and corporations, or take this opportunity to outright reject a Trumped Up Tax Code and make some good changes in the process???





Let’s get to work. Even if the choice is easy, making it happen is going to take coordinated action. Starting with the legislature hearing from you. (Look up your reps here.) Tell them: no tax conformity. Honor the will of the voters in Maine. Let’s ask the wealthy to pay their fair share and build an economy that works for everyone. Do it now!



Tell your legislators to reject the Trump tax plan here in Maine.

Sign up for Beacon newsletters

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