President Obama discusses how tax policies would affect Maine

WASHINGTON D.C, (NEWS CENTER) -- President Obama outlined how his tax plan will help the middle class and working families in Maine Monday. He said his budget would continue the tax cuts and expand it to help more families.

"The fact that we've made real progress coming out of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes doesn't negate the fact that there are still a lot of folks out there that still need more help," said President Barack Obama in an exclusive interview with NEWS CENTER.

The president wants to expand the Child Tax Credit, helping families pay for child care, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, for workers who don't have children living at home. The White House Estimates these two expansions would benefit 53,000 families and 63,000 workers in Maine.

Obama's proposing new credits for families where both spouses work, giving them a tax cut up to $500. The White House estimates that will cut taxes for 120,000 Maine families.

"If you get an extra $900 for childcare - if you're making $40,000 and maybe your spouse is making $30-$40,000. Nine hundred dollars - that's a big chunk of money," said President Obama.

The White House estimates the the average annual cost of center-based child care for two children in Maine was $17,680 in 2013.

"We actually do best, economic growth goes fastest, when middle class working families have money in their pocket," he said.

Republicans have proposed their own budget and tax resolutions to in response to Obama's 2016 budget. Independent Sen. Angus King said he thinks the President's budget deals with a lot of the important issues, but finding a middle ground between the Republicans and Democrats won't be easy.

"I think the problem is that there's so much division and we're really going in two different directions -- the budgets that have been passed by the Republican majorities in the House and the Senate really go in the opposite direction," said Sen. King.

King said he has to weigh the credits with the debt, which ultimately the children of today will pay. Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she wouldn't have personally written the Republican budget, but it does balance the budget over time.

"We really need to address the fiscal issues facing our country, while also looking at the child care tax credit and the income tax credit, which can be very helpful for working families," said Sen. Collins.

The Republicans proposed eliminating the estate tax on the largest estates in the U.S. President Obama said it would only help fewer than 10 families in Maine. Both Sen. Collins and Sen. King want family businesses to be passed along and not affected by the tax, but neither think the elimination would benefit the public.

Maine did not set up its own health exchange, meaning Maine residents have had to use the Federal Exchange to shop for health care. The Supreme Court is considering the legality of the subsidies through federal exchange, which 75,000 Maine residents are currently receiving. President Obama expressed confidence that SCOTUS will hold up the federal exchange subsidies in his interview with NEWS CENTER. Sen. Collins said there needs to be a plan to help people in case the Supreme Court does strike down the law and people lose their subsidies.


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