This morning on the May 27 episode of The Bottom Line podcast, co-hosts Dana Connors of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and John Williams of Williams Broadcasting were joined by Maine's Public Advocate, Barry Hobbins, to commemorate his upcoming retirement and reflect on his career of public service.
The Maine Take with Dana Connors livestreams weekly on Tuesdays at Noon
On Tuesday, June 1, The Maine Take welcomes Maine tourism leaders as we enter the summer season - the busiest and most lucrative time of year for businesses in this key economic sector that was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer’s outlook looks a lot different from last year’s. We will check-in with the Maine Tourism Association and local and regional chamber officials on their expectations for the coming months.
Maine State Chamber’s Simon West selected for U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Education and Workforce Fellowship program
Fellowship provides state and local business leaders with opportunities to engage nationally on critical education and workforce issues
Simon West, government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, has been selected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to participate in the fifth cohort of its premiere business leadership program. The Business Leads Fellowship Program trains and equips leaders from state and local chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and trade associations with resources, access to experts, and a network of peers to build their capacity to address the most pressing education and workforce challenges.
LD 1712 seeks to create greater access to quality early childcare and education through community-based hubs
On May 26, the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services held a work session on LD 1712, An Act To Support Children's Healthy Development and School Success. This bill, sponsored by Senate President Jackson (D-Aroostook), aims to create greater access to quality early childcare and education through community-based hubs. These hubs aim to increase the accessibility to services, as well as guide families through an assessment of their needs, navigating them toward the most appropriate services. Part of the care hub’s ability to generate greater access is through the decentralization of services and community-based support.
Democrats on Judiciary committee vote ‘no’ on safe harbor bill, which would protect Maine businesses, municipalities, non-profits, and educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Sponsor’s request to carry the bill over was denied
On Thursday, May 27, members of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary held a work session on LD 1403, An Act to Protect Maine Businesses, Non-Profits, Educational Institutions and Municipalities During COVID-19 Pandemic. The Maine State Chamber testified in strong support of the bill, which would have provided liability protections for the above entities for exposure from COVID-19 lawsuits. Sen. Anne Carney, Rep. Lois Reckitt, Sen. Heather Sanborn, Rep. Erin Sheehan, Rep. Jeff Evangelos, Rep. Chris Babbidge, and Rep. Jay McCreight all voted “ought not to pass.” Sen. Lisa Keim, Rep. David Haggan, and Rep. Jennifer Poirier voted “ought to pass as amended” and wanted to carry-over the bill.
All of them are without business input and will increase UI taxes
Maine’s current Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust fund, and its overall insurance system in place today, were shaped by reforms put in place nearly 20 years ago. These reforms included, among other things, an increase in the amount of the taxable wage base, the adoption of the “array system” of taxation used in Maine, our benefit structure, and the adoption of a cap on the total amount of trust fund reserves. Getting to a place where these reforms could be adopted and accepted by the business community was not easy – in fact, it took nearly two years and two stakeholder groups to reach a compromise. However, a compromise was reached because legislators and the administration took the time to involve all impacted parties in the discussions and drafting of the bill.