To the Editor:
Susan Collins recently gave hope of independence and leadership when she parted company with her Republican colleagues in the United States Senate to support a much fairer approach to balancing the federal budget.
Senator Collins voted against a bill that would have extended huge tax cuts for those making over a quarter million dollars a year—cuts that were originally passed before the Great Recession hit and when the federal government was running budget surpluses. Like most Americans, Senator Collins recognizes we can no longer afford these expensive giveaways to those who need them least.
Unfortunately, such hope lead to disappointment when Senator Collins failed to support a reasonable, Democratic-sponsored “Middle Class Tax Cut” bill.
Congress must understand that we cannot only “cut” ourselves out of this mess and that we need more revenue as part of a package of reforms to close our budget deficits, while at the same time protecting vital middle-class programs like Social Security and Medicare. and making the kind of smart investments that build our economy and create jobs.
With election season in full swing, it is a good time for voters to ask candidates—for both federal and state office—some tough questions about where they stand on a “fair share” tax structure and public investment to see if they will show the same courage and common sense as Senator Collins—at least in her first vote—when facing a budget crunch.
Neither Senator Collins nor Senator Olympia Snowe is a candidate this year, but they will both play important parts directly after the election when Congress grapples with a host of interconnected, multi-billion-dollar tax-and-spending decisions. We are counting on them to do right by the middle class and Maine.