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The politics of Christmas flares during House budget debate

June 26, 2011

Although the House budget debate that began Friday afternoon came during the first week of summer, Jolly Old St. Nick and his youthful constituents were on the mind of at least one legislator as the budget discussion drifted into the night.

During talks about new taxes on digital downloads and travel tours, Representative Karen MacBeth (D-Cumberland) said it would be mean-spirited and flat-out wrong to tax a “Polar Express” trip that takes children to see Santa Claus during the holiday season. In effect she asked: how could lawmakers be so cold-hearted and Grinch-like?

Finance Chairman Helio Melo responded by noting how taxes apply to books for children, among other things for the kiddies.

The pertinent budget article wound up passing by a large margin.

Yet it nothing else, Christmas got some attention during both the end and the start of the legislative year, since Representative Doreen Costa helped kick off the session back in January with her Christmas tree bill.

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