Portland to Vote on 13 Questions in November - Doubling Down on Failed Policies and Boss Mayor Politics
Last month, we updated you on four referendum questions that were filed for the November ballot by the Democratic Socialists of America. We now have confirmation that these questions have made the ballot, and will appear alongside one other referendum question and 8 questions from the Portland Charter Commission for a total of 13 questions on Portland's municipal ballot in November:
The Maine Legislature could vote as early as next Wednesday, May 19th on LD 553, An Act to End At-Will Employment. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Sylvester (D-Portland), would end centuries of at-will employment in Maine by terminating the right of an employer to fire an employee without just cause. It received a favorable vote out of the Committee on Labor and Housing on May 7th, and your help is needed to ensure the full legislature does not adopt this misguided attempt to overhaul labor markets in Maine.
This would mean employees could only be terminated following a progressive three-step disciplinary process, documenting each step in writing. Harmful impact of this bill include:
Update: Mills Administration Spending Proposals Head to Legislature for Consideration
This section is contributed by our exclusive Advocacy Update sponsor Verrill and their lobbying and communications group, Maine Street Solutions.
The Mills Administration has released a series of spending proposals that will now head to the Legislature for consideration, amendment, and eventual passage. See below for details on the Administration’s proposals for a) spending federal relief dollars; b) a supplemental budget for the upcoming biennium; and c) a bond package.
This section is contributed by our exclusive Advocacy Update sponsor Verrill and their lobbying and communications group, Maine Street Solutions. Participating in the Maine Legislature in the Virtual Era
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we all work and the Maine Legislature is no exception. This legislative session is unlike any other in Maine’s history. The 186 members of the Maine Legislature have met together in-person for a total of 3 days so far this year. In a “normal” year, the full Legislature would hold sessions of the House and Senate twice a week starting in January and add additional session days as the legislative work built up. In addition, legislative committees would be meeting at the State House complex to consider and vote on bills. Given the risks of gathering that many people together, this year legislative committees have been meeting virtually, via Zoom.
Bills to Watch
This is a new section of our Advocacy Update. These are bills the Chamber hasn't necessarily taken a position on, but that we feel our members may be interested in. Please let us know if you appreciate this feature and would like us to continue with it in the future.
Advocacy Alert: Minimum Wage Bills
The Legislature's Committee on Labor and Housing will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday (3/21) at noon to consider several bills related to the minimum wage.
Last week the Chamber testified in support of LD 455 and LD 774, both of which would pre-empt a municipality's ability to set a minimum wage different than the state. This legislation is critical to ensure an even playing field for employers across the state.
The Legislature's Committee on Taxation is currently considering two proposals that would raise taxes on Maine families and businesses in the middle of a pandemic.
LD 498 would add a 3% surcharge on Maine families earning over $200,000. The surcharge will make it increasingly difficult for Maine to attract professionals to fill the needs of our businesses and will undoubtedly stifle growth, preventing new companies from moving to Maine and creating disincentives to start or grow a business in Maine. It also provides an incredible incentive for businesses currently here – who have the option to relocate – to move their businesses to a state with more favorable and attractive tax laws.
LD 501 would increase Maine’s corporate income tax rate to 12.4%. With the imposition of this corporate tax increase, Maine would have the highest corporate income tax rate in the nation. Currently only six states have a higher rate than Maine, and if this measure is adopted we will have a rate that is 90 basis points higher than the next highest state, New Jersey.
These tax increases will set us back even further as we seek to recover from the pandemic, and Maine workers will suffer as opportunities for employment dry up, incentives to start new businesses disappear, and perceptions persist that Maine is not the place to start and grow the types of businesses we will need to compete in the global economy.
We testified at the public hearing on these bills this week, and we urge our members to reach out to the committee and let them know about the negative effects of these proposals on their businesses and families.
Contact information for committee members can be found here: