Senate Republican Leader Says GOP Accomplished Much for Maine Citizens, Despite Being in Minority
AUGUSTA – Maine lawmakers worked into the early hours of Friday, April 18 before finishing the work of the Second Regular Session of the 126th Legislature. The second session of the Legislature is the shorter of the two and typically concludes in April. The first session lasts until June.
Senate Republican leader Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) says Republicans, despite being in the minority, were able to make major gains on behalf of Maine citizens. The Maine Senate is comprised of 19 Democrats, 15 Republicans, and 1 Independent.
Senator Thibodeau said paying back nearly a half billion dollars in debt to Maine hospitals that was the result of Medicaid services that went unpaid was among the top accomplishments. “That debt was a black eye for Maine,” Senator Thibodeau said. “In addition to affecting our credit rating, it represented a failure to pay our bills. Thanks to Governor Paul LePage and Republican leadership in the Legislature, we were able to pay down this debt, and in the process secure a state liquor contract that maximizes the proceeds of liquor sales for the State of Maine.
Assistant Senate Republican Leader Statement on Bond Package
“I think this is a great example of the good things that happen when the Legislature works together in a bipartisan way.
“This is a solid package which focuses on job creation. Many of the proposals come from the collaborative efforts of the Workforce Development Committee that spent a full year listening to dozens of businesses and educators from across the state about where we would get the most bang for our buck through bonding. As a member of that Committee, I was glad to see so many of those ideas make the cut, given that our bonding capacity is limited.
“These are targeted, thoughtful investments in proven small business loan programs, our biomedical research sector, Maine’s marine economy, the University of Maine, and clean water infrastructure. Every single one of these proposals will leverage a significant additional private or federal government match, multiplying manyfold the impact of what we do. I hope each of these bond questions will have the enthusiastic support of the Governor and, ultimately, Maine voters.”
Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec)
Senators Get the Gavel for the Day
Senators Pat Flood and Gary Plummer each got the chance to serve as President Pro Tem last week. Both senators will be stepping down following the 126th Legislature.
Senate Lead on LCRED Says Democrats’ Vote on “Open for Business Zones” Sends Wrong Message to Employers
AUGUSTA – The Democrat-controlled Maine Senate last week voted to kill legislation designed to attract large employers to the State of Maine.
The bill, LD 1835, “An Act to Improve Maine’s Ability to Attract Major Private Investments,” was defeated mostly along party lines.
The legislation calls for the opening of “Open for Business Zones,” in which employers would commit to creating at least 1500 jobs and investing at least $50 million in Maine. In return, the State of Maine would extend a benefits package to allow us to be more competitive with those other states courting those companies. Included in the package would be tax incentives, employee training funds, energy rebates, and other benefits now available to existing Pine Tree Zones. It would also create “Paycheck Protection Zones.”
Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot), who is the ranking Republican on the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee, said, “Today’s vote just caps my disappointment in my Democratic colleague’s actions to discourage business investment and growth in Maine. First they voted to penalize call centers that bring good-paying jobs to our state, and now they’ve voted to reject an important tool to put Maine on the radar screens of large employers. Both of these actions have denied opportunities to bring good-paying jobs to Maine’s hard-working citizens.
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