Congresswoman Chellie Pingree voted last night for a compromise proposal that will extend lower tax rates for nearly all Maine families, avoid a dramatic increase in milk prices and will require millionaires and billionaires to pay more.
"This isn't a perfect deal by any means but no compromise is perfect," Pingree said. "The bottom line for me was an agreement that protects working families from a big tax increase, keeps milk prices from going through the roof and doesn't pull the rug out from under people who are still struggling in this economy."
Pingree said she was disappointed with some of the provisions in the bill, including the way farm policy was extended for nine months.
"It was critical to extend the dairy programs so families aren't paying $7 or $8 a gallon for milk," she said. "But Congress needs to use the next few months to pass real farm policy reform that supports and expands local agriculture and creates a sustainable food policy for the country."
The bill Pingree voted for reduces taxes for 98% of Maine families and 97% of Maine small businesses, preserves long term unemployment insurance for thousands of Maine people who are still searching for work, and extends tax breaks for families paying for childcare and college tuition. The agreement also temporarily preserves a dairy industry program for the next nine months. Without that extension, dairy prices would nearly double, according to experts.
The bill also extends a tax credit for new wind energy projects.
"The wind industry supports thousands of jobs in Maine and letting the wind energy tax credit expire would pull the rug out from under countless new wind projects and probably put Maine people out of work," she said.