House Republicans continue to fight for fairness, the survival of Maine businesses, Maine jobs, social institutions, in-person learning, and a safe restoration of our Maine way of life.
This is Representative Meldon “Mikey” Carmichael of Greenbush with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.
One of many negative side-effects of unilateral, ongoing emergency orders is that it allows government to pick winners and losers.
That is not fair in a country governed by a Constitution that enshrines equality under the law.
The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee is currently working on the Supplemental budget.
The Maine Constitution requires a balanced budget and a Supplemental Budget is necessary to cover pandemic-induced revenue shortfalls.
If people are out of work and businesses are shuttered, there are no income and sales taxes for the state to collect and spend. The “pandemic induced” shortfalls are the direct result of individuals and businesses forced out-of-work by government ordered shut downs or limitations on their ability to operate.
To compensate for these economic losses, programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) were created. They helped to ensure that businesses and the Mainers they employ could survive. Maine has received more than $2.7 billion from the federal program since April.
That $2.7 billion went mostly to support paychecks, all of it went into the Maine economy. It also produced revenue to the state, but the program itself was not intended to be used by state government as an additional source of tax revenue beyond the economic benefit Congress intended.
It is about fairness and the recognition that PPP is leading us out of the pandemic and into economic recovery, and was not to supplant lost tax revenues.
The Governor originally proposed full noncompliance with the federal government, which would result in taking an estimated $125 million from these struggling Maine businesses.
After significant opposition from the business community, workers, legislative Republicans and the general public, the Governor has moved to partial compliance covering “81 percent of the total employees at businesses that received PPP.”
Unfortunately, that leaves out a full benefit to 19% of the Maine jobs that PPP was designed to support, over 40,000 workers.
Why is one person’s job more important than another’s? If businesses were impacted proportionally to their size, it shouldn’t matter if you work for a big company or a small company. If a large business fails, does that hurt less than if a medium business fails?
Congress sent targeted assistance for the purpose of benefiting employers and their workers in the midst of a national emergency.
The State of Maine has already benefited from income and sales taxes paid by workers whose jobs were saved and/or preserved by the federal assistance. Yet rather than being thankful for the revenues that did come in and tightening their belts, the administration wants to take more money from Maine employers so it can keep spending.
Why, in a pandemic, is the Governor and her legislative allies proposing to pick which businesses receive the full relief intended by Congress and which will not?
My Republican colleagues on the Tax Committee and I stood firm in our desire to see the law be applied as it was intended for all of Maine.
It is about fairness and the recognition that PPP money is important to Mainers leading us out of the pandemic and into economic recovery, not to supplant lost tax revenues.
House Republicans will continue to promote fairness, equal treatment under the law, and the prioritization of limited resources to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
This has been Rep. Mikey Carmichael with the Republican Weekly Radio Address.
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