This Week in Augusta – 01.25.2016 edition

Date: January 25, 2016

Senate & House – 10 a.m. Tuesday & Thursday


LD 1 – LD 1455 were printed by end of 2015 session

As of today LD 1456 – LD 1575 have been printed for the 2016

There are only a handful of bills printed since the
beginning of last week.  None appear to
significantly affect small business.


Income Tax Conformity & Business Depreciation (LD 1564)
– A hearing will be held Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. on this legislation to conform
Maine’s income tax law with the latest changes in the federal tax code.  A key part of the legislation conforms Maine
with the federal Sec. 179 expensing for small business that was recently made
permanent at $500,000.

Encourage Employers to Offer Disability Plans (LD 1542) – A
public hearing will be held Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. on this proposal to give
qualified employers a tax credit of $50 for each employee enrolled in a group
disability income protection plan after January 1, 2017. The credit may be
taken by an employer for no more than 5 years.

Reduce Electric Rates for Businesses (LD 1398 – Governor’s
– A work session will be held by the Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m. this proposal
to increase the amount of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Trust Fund revenue
that is to be returned to business ratepayers.

Reject Expensive Electric Rates (LD 1339) – A work session
will be held Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. on this bill that requires the Public Utilities
Commission to reject standard offer bids if the price quoted is less than
10-cents a kilowatt hour and if none of the bids are below that rate, to
suspend the renewable portfolio requirement and solicit new bids.

Unemployment Benefits During Labor Disputes (LD 1501) – A
public hearing will be held Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. on this Maine labor department
proposal that amends unemployment benefit law regarding labor disputes.

Modernize Highway User Fees (LD 1110) – A work session will
be held Jan. 28 at 1:30 p.m. on this legislation, carried over from 2015, that
proposes various changes in the way revenues are obtained for the Highway Fund
and “yield predictable funding levels”. 
NFIB opposes efforts to increase taxes or fees on highway users.

Independent Contractor Predetermination (LD 1553) – A
hearing will be held Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. on a proposal from the Workers
Compensation Board that does several things including a shift in
predeterminations from the Board to the Bureau of Insurance; limiting the scope
of the rebuttable presumptions to insurance law issue, not workers compensation
(except for landowners; raises the cap for assessments on insurance companies
and self-insureds to fund Board operations; and, empowers the Board to assess
penalties on employees misclassified as independent contractors even if the
employer has a workers compensation policy for employees.  NFIB has concerns about these provisions.

Bid Preference (LD 1525) – A hearing will be held Feb. 3 at
1:45 p.m. on a proposal that encourages the purchase of products made in Maine
and in the United States and gives a 5% preference to Maine businesses when awarding
contracts to the best-value bidder.  The
proposal does not apply to counties, municipalities, or school districts.  NFIB does not yet have a position but in the
past NFIB members have been concerned about retaliation by other states whose
companies would put at an automatic disadvantage in Maine.


The annual “Compendium of State Fiscal Information” covering
the period through fiscal 2015 is now available from the legislative Office of
Fiscal & Program Review (OFPR).  At
128 pages the document lists the history, tax or fee rates, and amount of
recent revenue garnered from dozens of revenue sources.

Related Content: Small Business News | Maine

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