Early on a Friday morning in September, before setting off on their usual daily tasks, three business owners, all members of the Maine Small Business Coalition, gathered in a cluttered corner of an antiquarian bookstore in Bangor, Maine. Rick Schweikart, Bill Lippincott, and Suzanne Kelly, accompanied by the Chair of the Appropriations Committee in the State House of Representatives, Emily Cain, had come together to discuss a hot button political issue: the Bush-era tax cuts.
The Bush tax cuts are two sets of tax breaks that are set to expire at the end of 2010. One lowered the tax rate for middle class families, and the other was aimed at more affluent individuals making more than $200,000 a year or couples earning over $250,000. The Maine small business owners overwhelmingly supported allowing the credit on upper earners to expire, freeing up $40 billion in 2011, and $800 billion over the next decade. This money, they argued, should be spent on providing relief to states so that basic services for Mainers are not cut.
This meeting of a few business owners may seem like something small, but it’s critical for community organizations like the Maine Small Business Coalition and Maine People’s Alliance (a NWFCO affiliate), to hold meetings like this to help educate the community at large. These small business owners–well-known, reputable members of the community–are standing up and publicly stating that we can no longer balance the budget on the backs of the working class while giving a free pass to the wealthy. Only when many individuals demand that we return to a world view in which a rising tide lifts all boats, instead of the current failed thinking of a trickle -down economy, will change happen.