Senator Andre Cushing Introduces Bill to Attract Large Employers to Maine
AUGUSTA – Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) today introduced a bill that is designed to attract major employers to Maine by providing financial and capital incentives.
The bill, LD 1835, “An Act to Improve Maine’s Ability to Attract Major Private Investment,” went before the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee. The bill was submitted by Governor Paul LePage and is being sponsored by Senator Cushing.
It would create two “Open for Business Zones,” one at Brunswick Landing, the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, and at Loring Commerce Centre, the former Loring Air Force Base in Aroostook County.
If the bill were to become law, companies that choose to locate in the “Open for Business Zones,” invest at least $50 million, and create at least 1,500 jobs would be rewarded with corporate tax credits and sales tax exemptions. They would also be eligible for reductions in their electricity costs. Employees who work within the zones would not be required to join a union or pay union fees under the bill.
The bill also mandates that new jobs created within the zones pay at a rate that is competitive with other existing area jobs. Senator Cushing said, “This bill takes into account that businesses that qualify must offer wages that are competitive. This is not about allowing them to come here and shortchange Maine’s hardworking citizens. This is about attracting good companies that will provide a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
“This bill would provide what has been missing in Maine’s effort to recruit major employers. If we are going to go after them, we need to level the playing field with other states that are already offering these incentives and landing these jobs.
“Maine already has an outstanding workforce to offer to these potential employers. This legislation would go a long way toward creating new opportunities for them in Maine.”
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Bangor Daily News: 'Republicans have lived poverty’: LePage and Maine GOP lay out welfare reform proposals
By Scott Thistle
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage on Monday unveiled a set of four bills that would place more restrictions on how welfare benefits can be used in the Pine Tree State.
Among the reforms LePage is proposing are adding recipients’ photographs to Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and a requirement that applicants for welfare benefits conduct a work search before becoming eligible. LePage also proposes making it illegal to use a cash-assistance EBT card for tobacco, liquor, gambling and bail. A fourth proposed bill would prohibit the use of the card outside Maine.
LePage said he didn’t oppose helping those in need but wouldn’t accept allowing the state and its taxpayers to be taken advantage of.
“All people who need help will get it from this governor,” LePage said.
Portland Press Herald: In Maine House, Medicaid expansion passes easily, but still falls short
AUGUSTA — A bill to expand Medicaid to cover more than 60,000 uninsured Mainers was dealt another blow Tuesday as the House voted to pass it 97-49, a single vote less than the two-thirds majority needed to override a certain veto by Gov. Paul LePage.
Last week in the Senate, the bill fell two votes short of a veto-proof margin. The measure would expand MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, to people who earn as much as 138 percent of the federal poverty level, just over $15,856 a year for an individual. It also would establish a managed-care system for the entire MaineCare program.
MaineCare now serves about 320,000 low-income people, including the elderly, the disabled, working parents and their children.
Democrats, who have made Medicaid expansion a policy priority, have emphasized the human impact of not extending coverage to more poor Mainers. Republicans continue to stress the future costs of expanding the $2.5 billion program, which accounts for about 17 percent of state spending.
Senate Approves Medicaid Expansion, but Final Passage Unlikely
The Maine Senate this week approved a measure to expand MaineCare (Maine's version of Medicaid) to an additional 70,000 to 100,000 Maine residents. The vote was 22-13 in favor of LD 1487. However, the 13 "no" votes indicate that if the bill were to pass in the House of Representatives and then face a certain veto from Governor Paul LePage, there are not enough votes to override the veto. One of the most closely watched votes was that of Senator Brian Langley (R-Hancock), who gave an impassioned and insightful floor speech on why he ultimately opposed expansion.
Other Floor Speeches:
Senator Jim Hamper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ursznRp2hfs&feature=youtu.be
Senator Doug Thomas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB8HKKR7fQo&feature=youtu.be
Senator Garrett Mason:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAJCuZzSp28&feature=youtu.be
Senator Rod Whittemore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvEIn_-5tps&feature=youtu.be