Edition for Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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Welcome to your daily Impact newsletter!
As a valued member of
the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, we plan to stay in touch with you every
afternoon, through emails like this one and on Facebook and Twitter, until the pandemic passes. We
intend to provide you with the latest state and federal information, as well
as highlighting the creativity and innovation that is occuring here in Maine
during this unpredictable and rapidly changing time. To assist you in
navigating the uncertainties ahead, we have created a diverse and
comprehensive collection of web-based resources to help you take care of yourself and your family, your employees, your business, and your community. If there is anything you need, please reach out.
We are here to help in any way we can!
Requests Major Disaster Declaration from the Federal Government
Extends State's Property Tax Exemption Deadline
Governor also requests federal funding under Title 32 for
the Maine National Guard
On Wednesday, April 1,
Governor Janet Mills announced that she has submitted
a request through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a
Presidential Major Disaster Declaration in light of the significant impact of
the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the State of Maine. If Governor Mills'
request for assistance is approved, Maine people may have access to
additional resources that support child care, behavioral health, and legal
services, among others, needed in response to the pandemic. The
Governor's request is for all 16 counties.
The Governor also requested
approval of Title 32 Section 502(f) funds for the Maine National Guard. As
the Chief Executive, Governor Mills exercises command over the Guard, and her
Proclamation of a State of Civil Emergency allows for their deployment.
Approval of the Governor's Title 32 request by the President would mean that
the Federal government would absorb the costs of any action taken by the
Guard in Maine. At present, the Guard stands ready to assist at the direction
of the Governor and their mission could include the use of logistic, medical,
transportation, security, rotary and fixed wing aviation, cyber, incident
assessment and awareness, and engineering assets to respond to COVID-19.
Governor Janet Mills has
issued an Executive Order extending the State's property tax exemption
deadline. The order, which took effect yesterday, March 31st, extends the
statutory April 1st deadline to either the commitment date of the
municipality (the date set each year, usually in July, when the Tax Assessors
commit the town's assessment roll to the Tax Collector to allow for the
receipt of payment), or 30 days after the termination of the Governor's
Proclamation of Civil Emergency, whichever comes first. Extending the
deadline will allow Maine people more time to apply for the new Homestead
Exemption, which provides a reduction of up to $25,000 in the value of an
individual's home for property tax purposes, thereby lowering their property
The extended application
deadline includes the following property tax exemptions: Property of
Institutions and Organizations; Estates of Veterans; Solar and Wind Energy
Equipment; Exemption of Homesteads; and Exemption of Business Equipment.
Last year, the Legislature
passed, and Governor Mills signed, a law increasing the homestead exemption
from $20,000 to $25,000. Maine people may inquire with their Tax Assessors
about their respective towns' commitment date. The Commitment Date is the
date set each year when the Tax Assessors commit the town's assessment roll
to the Tax Collector to allow for the receipt of payment.
With $349 Billion in
Emergency Small Business Capital Cleared, Treasury and SBA Begin
Unprecedented Public-Private Mobilization Effort to Distribute Funds
Following President Trump's signing of the historic
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, SBA Administrator
Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin announced on March
31 that the U.S.
SBA and Treasury Department
have initiated a robust mobilization effort of banks and other lending
institutions to provide small businesses with the capital they need.
ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of
Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion
toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and
eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal
businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who
are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also
meet program size standards.
If you are a lender, more information can be
If you are a borrower, more information can be
The application for
borrowers can be found HERE.
The U.S. DOL's
Wage and Hour Division has posted a temporary
rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new Families First
Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The U.S. DOL plans to post a recorded webinar on
Friday, April 3 to provide interested
parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA.
Once it has been posted, you will be able to find this recorded webinar online, as well as frequent updates to the compliance assistance
information available there. Lastly, if you have questions that have not yet
been addressed in the guidance on the U.S. DOL website, please
do not hesitate to reach out through the toll-free help line at 866-4US-WAGE.
Trump pushes $2 trillion
infrastructure package in next coronavirus bill
Washington Post article by Jeff Stein and Seung Min Kim outlined the next
phase of the stimulus package. As Sen. Angus King mentioned in our meeting
with him yesterday, the fourth phase will focus on infrastructure.
According to the article,
President Trump said Tuesday that a $2 trillion infrastructure package should
be part of Congress' next response to the coronavirus pandemic, reviving a
2016 campaign pledge to ramp up construction projects despite public health guidance
that Americans should stay home and isolated to the greatest extent possible.
Citing extraordinarily low interest rates that have reduced the cost of federal borrowing, Trump said on Twitter that now "is the time" to push forward with an infrastructure package in response to the severe economic downturn caused by the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Numerous House Democrats have also discussed in recent weeks advancing infrastructure legislation as part of their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Updated Information from
the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and the Maine
Department of Labor
In response to yesterday's "Stay
Healthy from Home" mandate, the Maine Department of Economic and
Community Development has updated its list of Essential
Business Operations Definitions.
A Special Webinar Presentation FromThe Maine
What Every Employer Needs to Know During
As employers have been
wrestling with the financial impact of the COVID-related shut-down of major
sectors of the Maine and U.S. economies, there has been an avalanche of
remedial legislation at both the state and federal level directed at easing
the impact on employers and employees alike.
However, when legislation is enacted this quickly, it's inevitable
that it will create many questions.
This webinar will get
you up to speed on the latest guidance and understanding concerning the
emergency paid sick leave, expanded Family Medical Leave, and payroll tax
credit provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. We'll do the same for the enhancements to
unemployment benefits under the CARES Act and Maine's Emergency Unemployment
Join Katy Rand of
Pierce Atwood and Peter Gore of the Maine State Chamber as they help you
understand what you need to know to make critical decisions for your
workforce and your business.
To register in advance for this meeting, please click here. After registering, you
will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the
meeting. If you have questions you'd
like to make sure we answer, please click here to submit them.
Listen to This Week's Edition of The Bottom Line
Sen. Angus King (I-ME) is this week's special guest on The Bottom Line podcast broadcasting
live at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2020. King will join The Bottom Line
co-hosts Dana Connors of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and John
Williams of Williams Broadcasting to discuss the latest developments and
challenges businesses are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and programs
available to businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic through
the federal rescue package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security
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