This Week in Augusta – 02.27.2017 edition

Date: February 27, 2017

SESSION

Tuesday – Senate & House, 10 a.m.

Thursday – Senate & House, 10 a.m.

http://legislature.maine.gov/

 

LEGISLATION

LD 465 – LD 727 printed

New titles of interest include:

  • Protect employees from abusive work environments (LD 466)
  • Referendum to expand access to hospitals and healthcare (LD 470)
  • Restrict use of non-compete agreements (LD 487)
  • Require paid parental leave (LD 554)
  • Protect earned pay (LD 563)
  • Eliminate 3% income surtax; use nonmedical marijuana tax to increase education funding (LD 571)
  • Eliminate MEMIC’s high-risk rating insurance program (LD 592)
  • Protect job applicants from giving Social Security number prior to job offer (LD 613)
  • Address unmet workforce needs of employers (LD 669)
  • Restore tip credit to Maine’s minimum wage law (LD 673, LD 702)
  • Create work search exemption for certain unemployment claimants (LD 701)
  • Uses taxes on nonmedical marijuana & cigarettes to partially offset 3% income surtax (LD 708)

 

UNEMPLOYMENT TAX CHANGES PROPOSED

A public hearing will be held this week on changes in the unemployment insurance law proposed in the 2018-2019 biennial State Budget (Part CCCCC). Key provisions include:

Mar. 1, 10 a.m.

  • Increase partial weekly benefit to $100 from $25
  • Drop lowest Schedule A tax to 0.0% from 0.5% for employers with best experience rate
  • Change experience rating system from charging most recent employer to charging employers based on ratio inversely proportional to claimant’s employment

The hearing will be held by the Appropriations Committee jointly with the Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development Committee.

 

NOTABLE HEARINGS SCHEDULED

Here is a schedule of hearings on selected issues that may interest small business owners:

Feb. 27, 1 p.m. – Taxation

  • Provide income tax credit for retailers collecting sales tax (LD 91)

Feb. 28, 1:30 p.m. – Labor, Commerce, Research & Economic Development

  • Protect employees from abusive work environments (LD 466)
  • Restrict use of non-compete agreements (LD 487)

Mar. 2, 2 p.m. – Judiciary

  • Increase jurisdictional limits for small claims to $15,000 from $6,000 (LD 283)

Mar. 7, 1 p.m. – Insurance & Financial Services

  • Enable MEMIC to eliminate its high-risk rating program (LD 592)

 

STATE OF THE STATE

Governor LePage focused on several issue areas in his Feb. 27 speech including tax reform, minimum wage, education reform, and energy. Here are some excerpts:

  • Successful people; they are the solution. They create jobs. They pay the most in sales, excise, income and property taxes. They already pay two-thirds of the tax burden in Maine. Taxing them out of Maine does not help our economy—it harms it.
  • We must help Maine families achieve prosperity—not shatter their American Dreams with high taxation, high energy costs and an underperforming education system.
  • As written, the law to raise the minimum wage will wreak havoc.

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