This Week in Augusta – 03.13.2017 edition

Date: March 13, 2017


Tuesday – Senate & House, 10 a.m.

Wednesday – Senate & House, 10, a.m.

Thursday – Senate & House, 10 a.m.



LD 917 – LD 1036 printed

New titles of interest include:

  • Prohibit asking prospective employee about salary history until job offer made (LD 942 & LD 944)
  • Create unemployment insurance work search exemptions for certain construction and logging company claimants (LD 962)
  • Exempt from the minimum wage workers under age 18, seasonal workers, and people claimed as dependents on an income tax return (LD 971)
  • Create a subminimum wage for workers under age 18 (LD 991)
  • Increase by 500% minimum and maximum fines for certain labor law violations (LD 1004)
  • Repeal minimum wage increases and indexing passed by voters last November, and restore tip credit (LD 1005)



Hearings on legislation to repeal or modify the 3% income surtax are scheduled for March 20 (details below). The controversial surtax was narrowly approved (50.6% – 49.4%) by voters last November as part of the Question 2 proposal to increase state funding of K-12 education. The Maine Education Association (teachers union) and Maine People’s Alliance, both of which led the 2016 referendum campaign in favor of Question 2, are strongly opposed to repeal. NFIB is part of the Keep Maine Competitive coalition that supports full repeal of the surtax.



Maine could suffer serious economic damage from imposition of the 3% income surtax, according to an analysis by the Maine Office of Policy and Management.   The OPM analysis estimates the following potential impacts in the first year of the surtax:

  • 2,400-4,300 private sector employment loss
  • $400-$600 million negative impact on real disposable incomes
  • 800-1,400 population loss
  • $40-$160 negative impact on Gross Domestic Product

Estimated potential impacts in the third year after implementation are even higher:

  • 1,900-6,600 private sector employment loss
  • $270-$800 million negative impact on real disposable incomes
  • 1,600-3,800 population loss
  • $16-$320 million negative impact on Gross Domestic Product

The estimates assume the 3% income surtax will cause an initial outward migration of 780 to 1,255 individuals of the approximately 16,000 taxpayers expected to be directly subject to the surtax. “If outward migration induced by the policy change is higher than expected, the negative results would be magnified,” warned OPM staff. Advocates of high taxes on upper income individuals claim that tax rates do affect state-of-residency decisions.



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

Mar. 20, 9 a.m. – Taxation

  • Decrease tax rate on income above $200,000 to 4.15% so that addition of 3% surtax will equal the 2016 top rate of 7.15% (LD 291)
  • Repeal the 3% surtax imposed on income above $200,000 (LD 337)
  • Eliminate the 3% surtax and replace lost revenue with revenue from tax on recreational marijuana and surplus revenues in the General Fund (LD 571)
  • Increase 3% surtax income thresholds to $300,000 for heads of households and $400,000 for married taxpayers filing joint returns (LD 829)
  • Repeal the 3% surtax and revote the issue in a November 2018 referendum question (LD 851)


Mar. 22, 10 a.m. – Labor, Research, Commerce & Economic Development

  • Require paid parental leave for employees (LD 554)
  • Eliminate partial offset of vacation pay for unemployment claimants (LD 563)
  • Protect job applicants from having to reveal Social Security number (LD 613)
  • Address unmet workforce needs of employers (LD 669)
  • Establish the Maine Paid Family Leave insurance program (LD 701)



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

Mar. 14, 1 p.m. – Insurance & Financial Services

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

Mar. 15, 1 p.m. – State & Local Government

  • Establish a Maine Buy Local month (LD 402)

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