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October 2012

125th Legislature in Review
attacking workers, MaineCare recipients, and the most vulnerable Mainers. One of the most egregious examples of the legislature’s willingness to put corporate interests in front of the needs of their small business constituents was LD 1333, a piece of legislation codifying Anthem’s authority to hike rates on business owners employing older workers or operating in rural Maine. MSBC members testified against this bill that insurance companies, and Anthem in particular, embraced as an opportunity to provide fewer benefits for higher premiums. For anyone who watched the debate over LD 1333 unfold, the disparity in resources between the two sides couldn’t have been clearer. MSBC and our allies across the state prioritized the voices of Mainers affected by these policies, while Anthem’s paid lobbyists flooded the halls of the legislature. While we fell short in our efforts to defeat the rate hike bill, the Maine Small Business Coalition participated in a victory that demonstrated our ability to break through the conservative blockade on common sense. The Coalition has long supported environmental justice efforts to protect Maine’s natural resources and keep children safe from toxic chemicals, and allow business owners to know what’s in the products they’re selling. But, as with
(125th continued - pg 11 )

MSBC members lobby decision makers in Augusta

Last year’s legislative session was a tough stretch for community-minded small businesses. Many newly-elected members of the legislature mirrored the conservative posture of Governor Paul LePage and attempted to erode the protections the Maine Small Business Coalition has supported since our inception.We struggled as the Republican majority passed bills

Small Businesses Hit with Healthcare Rate Hikes
In the spring of 2011 we lobbied, testified, and protested against the passage of what is now known as the health care rate hike bill (LD 1333). MSBC, along with several other advocacy groups, believed that this law, now known as Public Law 90, would be harmful to many Mainers, especially small business owners. The law passed even though many of the Republican legislators who voted for it had never read the bill. We know because we asked them on their way to vote. The rate hike law follows the conservative principle that a free market system works when there is as little government intervention as possible. Instead of holding greedy insurance companies responsible for rising costs, inhumane practices, and outrageous profit gains, the rate hike law gave insurance companies more opportunity to increase rates and rake in profits at the expense of small businesses and with little oversight by the state. A report recently released by Consumers for Affordable Health Care took a closer look at what the supporters of the rate hike bill promised, and what has actually happened. According to the report and from the stories we have been hearing from small business owners across the state, rates are going up for Maine people, and insurance companies are lining their pockets with profits. More than 90% of small businesses in northern, eastern, central, and western Maine saw their rates increase, many of them by more than 20%. Southern Maine is doing somewhat better, but 84% of small business in southern Maine still saw a rate increase. For MSBC member Walter Briggs, who owns a marketing firm in Bath with five employees, a premium hike of 67% meant that he had to cut coverage, let one employee go and was prevented from keeping others on fulltime. Due to his increased deductible, last
(Rate Hike continued - pg 11 )

Organizer Kevin Simowitz and MSBC members speak out against Anthem’s contributions to candidates in local races

Small Business Values: Rating the 125th Legislature
The MSBC election scorecard focuses on votes legislators took in four key areas: health care, the environment, worker justice and clean elections. Not only are small businesses strong voices on these issues, but in many cases they are some of the most directly affected by legislation passed in Augusta. This last session saw a Republican-dominated legislature, backed by Governor LePage in the Blaine House, pass legislation that undermined small businesses in almost every issue area: a rate hike bill passed by the legislature has already caused 90% of small businesses in Maine to see their healthcare rates increase drastically; our Clean Elections system was gutted; and large corporations were given a pass to pollute our environment and put profits before Maine people and our communities. Legislators’ scores are determined by the number of times they voted with or against small businesses over the entire 125th legislative session using the following eight bills: LD 322: Repeal the informed growth act (MSBC opposed) Under the old law, a store like Wal-Mart could only build in a town if it first paid for an independent, comprehensive study to determine that there won’t be undue adverse impact on small businesses, public safety, the environment and tax revenue. It’s the only way that towns can base their decisions on real information. LD 322 passed as amended, meaning that any town that wants to continue to be protected has to pass a local ordinance. This will allow big box developers to pit town against town and undercut local businesses. LD 1333: The Rate Hike Bill (MSBC opposed) This deregulation law is likely the largest give-away to health insurance companies in the history of our state. The law repeals many of Maine’s basic health care consumer protections, allows out-of-state insurers to market policies in Maine without a way to enforce those policies and make sure claims are paid, and undermines access to quality affordable health care for older Mainers, rural residents, people with pre-existing conditions and small businesses through significant rate hikes based on age and where people live. The law also allowed insurers to make people drive from Fort Kent to Kittery for medical services, such as weekly cancer treatments. On the other side of the equation, health insurance companies make out like bandits. They no longer have to abide by basic consumer protections, get to increase their rates up to 10% a year with no oversight, and the law creates a new tax to fund a high risk pool, meaning that Maine people instead of insurance companies will have to pay for treatment for the sickest Mainers. Despite fast action from MSBC members, who flooded the halls of the capitol and flooded the inboxes of legislators, the bill passed narrowly, mostly along party lines. LD 447: An Act To Raise the Minimum Wage (MSBC supported) This bill would have raised the minimum wage in Maine from $7.50 an hour to $7.75 and then $8 in 2012. It would have helped those struggling to make ends meet, while putting money in the pockets of those people who are most likely to spend it at local businesses, promoting needed economic growth in our struggling economy. The bill failed, mostly on a party line vote. LD 281: An Act To Create a 5-year Statute of Limitations for Environmental Violations (MSBC opposed) This law (which was amended to make the time period six years) allows polluters who are not prosecuted by state enforcement agencies within six years to get away with their environmental violations. A 24-year veteran of the DEP testified that the bill is “a drastic change to the current law as it now stands” and “will make it more difficult for the state of Maine to enforce its environmental laws.” When big polluters don’t have to pay, it puts small businesses who follow the law at an unfair disadvantage. It was passed narrowly in both the House and Senate. LD 1816: Health and Human Services Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 and part of 2013 (MSBC opposed) Governor LePage’s solution to the revenue crisis he helped create was to kick thousands of children and the elderly off of MaineCare. There were several proposed amendments in both the House and Senate to address the revenue shortfall in a more fair and responsible manner, including reforming the way we pay doctors, ensuring better case management and making sure the wealthiest 1% paid their fair share of state taxes. In the end, however, an amended version of the bill passed that still removed over 10,000 people from MaineCare. LD 1179: An Act To Require Advance Review and Approval of Certain Small Group Health Insurance Rate Increases (MSBC supported) In Maine, health insurance companies can increase insurance rates for small business insurance policies with little input on how these rate hikes would affect costs to the insured. LD 1179 would have required that small group health plans undergo a similar review process as holders of individual insurance policies, including a review of excessive health insurance rate hikes. The bill failed to garner enough votes in both the House and Senate. LD 1774: An Act Regarding the Matching Funds Provisions of the Maine Clean Election Act (MSBC supported) Because of unfortunate Supreme Court decisions on corporate personhood, Maine’s Clean Elections law has been gutted. Previously, candidates who ran Clean Election campaigns received public funding matching much of the private money that was spent against them. It leveled the playing field and reduced the influence of big money in politics. After the Supreme Court ruled these matching funds unconstitutional, the bi-partisan Maine Ethics Commission came up with an alternative to replace this key “matching funds” provision. Unfortunately, this option was voted down in favor of a “donothing” approach supported by Republican leadership. LD 1498: An Act To Phase Out Dirigo Health and Establish the Maine Health Benefit Exchange for Small Businesses and Individuals (MSBC supported) Under the Affordable Care Act, the state of Maine has to develop a healthcare exchange to provide easier access to more affordable health insurance options. LD 1498 would have done just that. However this bill became another casualty of the partisan wrangling around Obamacare. Republicans didn’t want to pass anything seen to be even tangentially in support of national healthcare reform, including this bill.

Dist # 8 6 9 2 3 16 12 7 32 10 19 13 1 5 35 20 24 28 25 17 21 14 33 29 22 31 18 30 34 15 4 23 27 26 11

Senate Member JUSTIN ALFOND of Cumberland PHILIP BARTLETT of Cumberland JOSEPH BRANNIGAN of Cumberland RONALD COLLINS of York JONATHAN COURTNEY of York MARGARET CRAVEN of Androscoggin BILL DIAMOND of Cumberland CYNTHIA DILL of Cumberland NICHI FARNHAM of Penobscot STANLEY GERZOFSKY of Cumberland SETH GOODALL of Sagadahoc DAVID HASTINGS of Oxford DAWN HILL of York BARRY HOBBINS of York TROY JACKSON of Aroostook CHRIS JOHNSON of Lincoln ROGER KATZ of Kennebec BRIAN LANGLEY of Hancock THOMAS MARTIN of Kennebec GARRETT MASON of Androscoggin EARL McCORMICK of Kennebec JOHN PATRICK of Oxford DEBORAH PLOWMAN of Penobscot KEVIN RAYE of Washington CHRISTOPHER RECTOR of Knox RICHARD ROSEN of Hancock THOMAS SAVIELLO of Franklin ELIZABETH SCHNEIDER of Penobscot ROGER SHERMAN of Aroostook LOIS SNOWE-MELLO of Androscoggin NANCY SULLIVAN of York MICHAEL THIBODEAU of Waldo DOUGLAS THOMAS of Somerset RODNEY WHITTEMORE of Somerset RICHARD WOODBURY of Cumberland

Party D D D R R D D D R D D R D D D D R R R R R D R R R R R D R R D R R R U

125th 100% 100% 100% 0% 13% 63% 75% 100% 0% 100% 100% 0% 75% 86% 83% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 88% 0% 0% 0% 0% 13% 75% 0% 0% 72% 0% 0% 0% 50%

LD 1816 + + + + + + + + + + + + + -

LD 1179 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

LD 1774 + + + + + + + + + E + + + + + E +

LD 1498 + + + + + + + + + + E + + + + + +

LD 322 + + + / + + + + + / + + -

LD 1333 + + + + + + + + + E / + -

LD 447 + + + X + + + + + + / + + + -

LD 281 + + + + + + + E + + / E +

Understanding our Scorecard The scorecard is meant to show the nuanced distinctions between legislators, not necessarily the history of a bill’s life or death. Each scorecard roll call was carefully picked and reviewed to demonstrate the definitive struggles within each bill. For example, while a bill may pass unanimously in the end, roll call votes on amendments prior may be a more genuine indicator of a legislator’s values. Feel free to contact MSBC with any questions at (207) 200-5240

KEY to the Scorecard “+” indicates a correct vote, in agreement with Maine values “-” indicates an incorrect vote, not in agreement with Maine values “X” indicates the legislator was absent for the vote. Absent votes are scored as wrong because the legislator, by his or her absence, did not act in support of Maine values “E”indicates the legistlator was excused from the vote due to conflict of interest, written medical excuse, or was away on official legislative business. Excused absences do not count against a legislator. “\” indicates the legislator did not hold office at the time

Dist # 3 135 68 148 76 151 141 67 70 90 56 142 69 93 110 32 19 72 137 101 21 37 147 119 10 6 62 66 55 104 28 91 86 39 16 26 14 113 50 126 13 88 123 4 105 146 29

House Member BERNARD AYOTTE of Caswell PAULETTE BEAUDOIN of Biddeford MICHAEL BEAULIEU of Auburn ROBERTA BEAVERS of South Berwick HENRY BECK of Waterville DEVIN BELIVEAU of Kittery PAUL BENNETT of Kennebunk SETH BERRY of Bowdoinham BRUCE BICKFORD of Auburn RUSSEL BLACK of Wilton ANNA BLODGETT of Augusta ANDREA BOLAND of Sanford BRIAN BOLDUC of Auburn SHERYL BRIGGS of Mexico MARK BRYANT of Windham DAVID BURNS of Whiting EMILY CAIN of Orono MICHAEL CAREY of Lewiston ALAN CASAVANT of Biddeford RICHARD CEBRA of Naples MICHAEL CELLI of Brewer RALPH CHAPMAN of Brooksville KATHLEEN CHASE of Wells BEN CHIPMAN of Portland HERBERT CLARK of Millinocket TYLER CLARK of Easton MICHAEL CLARKE of Bath ALEXANDER CORNELL du HOUX of Brunswick DAVID COTTA of China DALE CRAFTS of Lisbon DEAN CRAY of Palmyra JARROD CROCKETT of Bethel PHILIP CURTIS of Madison ANDRE CUSHING of Hampden DOUGLAS DAMON of Bangor PAUL DAVIS of Sangerville JAMES DILL of Old Town MARK DION of Portland DANA DOW of Waldoboro TIMOTHY DRISCOLL of Westbrook ROBERT DUCHESNE of Hudson LARRY DUNPHY of Embden JANE EBERLE of South Portland PETER EDGECOMB of Caribou ELEANOR ESPLING of New Gloucester MARK EVES of North Berwick STACEY FITTS of Pittsfield

Party R D R D D D R D R R D D D D D R D D D R R D R U D R D D R R R R R R R R D D R D D R D R R D R

125th 0% 88% 0% 100% 100% 100% 0% 100% 0% 0% 100% 100% 100% 88% 88% 0% 88% 88% 50% 0% 0% 100% 0% 100% 88% 0% 100% 100% 13% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 100% 63% 0% 88% 75% 0% 88% 0% 0% 88% 0%

LD 1816 + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + + -

LD 1179 + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + + + -

LD 1774 + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + X + + + -

LD 1498 + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + X + + + + -

LD 322 + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + -

LD 1333 + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + X + + + + X + -

LD 447 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + -

LD 281 + + + + + + + + + X + X + + + + + + + X + + + + + X -

Dist # 8 35 82 53 58 25 12 87 41 15 109 22 100 59 116 45 89 117 94 43 118 132 131 107 20 27 124 65 83 129 81 48 36 71 139 9 77 115 38 61 31 34 57 1

House Member JOYCE FITZPATRICK of Houlton ELSPETH FLEMINGS of Bar Harbor PATRICK FLOOD of Winthrop LESLIE FOSSEL of Alna KAREN FOSTER of Augusta KENNETH FREDETTE of Newport JEFFERY GIFFORD of Lincoln PAUL GILBERT of Jay JAMES GILLWAY of Searsport ADAM GOODE of Bangor ANNE GRAHAM of North Yarmouth STACEY GUERIN of Glenburn JAMES HAMPER of Oxford STEPHEN HANLEY of Gardiner DENISE HARLOW of Portland RYAN HARMON of Palermo LANCE HARVELL of Farmington ANNE HASKELL of Portland TERRY HAYES of Buckfield ERIN HERBIG of Belfast JON HINCK of Portland GEORGE HOGAN of Old Orchard Beach ROBERT HUNT of Buxton MELISSA INNES of Yarmouth DAVID JOHNSON of Eddington PETER JOHNSON of Greenville BRIAN KAENRATH of South Portland PETER KENT of Woolwich DENNIS KESCHL of Belgrade JANE KNAPP of Gorham GARY KNIGHT of Livermore Falls CHUCK KRUGER of Thomaston WALTER KUMIEGA of Deer Isle MICHAEL LAJOIE of Lewiston AARON LIBBY of Waterboro RICKY LONG of Sherman THOMAS LONGSTAFF of Waterville STEPHEN LOVEJOY of Portland LOUIS LUCHINI of Ellsworth BRUCE MacDONALD of Boothbay JOYCE MAKER of Calais RICHARD MALABY of Hancock MAEGHAN MALONEY of Augusta JOHN MARTIN of Eagle Lake

Party R D R R R R R D R D D R R D D R R D D D D D D D R R D D R R R D D D R R D D D D R R D D

125th 0% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 100% 88% 0% 0% 38% 100% 0% 0% 88% 75% 75% 100% 100% 100% 88% 0% 0% 88% 88% 0% 0% 0% 100% 100% 88% 0% 0% 100% 88% 100% 100% 0% 0% 88% 75%

LD 1816 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + -

LD 1179 + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

LD 1774 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + +

LD 1498 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + +

LD 322 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + -

LD 1333 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + +

LD 447 LD 281 + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + + +

Dist #

House Member

Party

125th

LD 1816

LD 1179

LD 1774

LD 1498

LD 322

LD 1333

LD 447

LD 281

47 85 103 30 51 121 54 122 149 144 112 80 78 44 145 64 18 140 125 92 84 133 111 60 63 97 23 49 42 136 40 74 120 130 52 99 102 128 17 108 114 2 33 96 79 11 143 134 127 73

EDWARD MAZUREK of Rockland JEFF McCABE of Skowhegan MICHAEL McCLELLAN of Raymond HOWARD McFADDEN of Dennysville JONATHAN McKANE of Newcastle K. MONAGHAN-DERRIG of Cape Elizabeth SUSAN MORISSETTE of Winslow TERRY MORRISON of South Portland BRADLEY MOULTON of York JOAN NASS of Acton MARY NELSON of Falmouth MELVIN NEWENDYKE of Litchfield ROBERT NUTTING of Oakland ANDREW O'BRIEN of Lincolnville BETH O'CONNOR of Berwick KIMBERLY OLSEN of Phippsburg JAMES PARKER of Veazie WAYNE PARRY of Arundel ANN PEOPLES of Westbrook MATTHEW PETERSON of Rumford JOHN PICCHIOTTI of Fairfield DONALD PILON of Saco GARY PLUMMER of Windham KERRI PRESCOTT of Topsham CHARLES PRIEST of Brunswick HELEN RANKIN of Hiram DAVID RICHARDSON of Carmel WESLEY RICHARDSON of Warren PETER RIOUX of Winterport MEGAN ROCHELO of Biddeford KIMBERLY ROSEN of Bucksport MARGARET ROTUNDO of Lewiston DIANE RUSSELL of Portland LINDA SANBORN of Gorham DEBRA SANDERSON of Chelsea RALPH SARTY of Denmark MICHAEL SHAW of Standish HEATHER SIROCKI of Scarborough SARA STEVENS of Bangor M. STRANG BURGESS of Cumberland PETER STUCKEY of Portland CHARLES THERIAULT of Madawaska DIANNE TILTON of Harrington JEFFREY TIMBERLAKE of Turner SHARON TREAT of Hallowell BETH TURNER of Burlington JOHN TUTTLE of Sanford LINDA VALENTINO of Saco AMY VOLK of Scarborough RICHARD WAGNER of Lewiston

D D R R R D R D R R D R R D R R R R D D R D R R D D R R R D R D D D R R D R D R D D R R D R D D R D

88% 100% 0% 0% 0% 100% 0% 100% 13% 0% 100% 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 0% 0% 100% 75% 0% 75% 0% 0% 100% 88% 13% 0% 0% 88% 0% 88% 100% 88% 0% 0% 75% 0% 75% 0% 88% 100% 0% 0% 100% 0% 75% 75% 0% 88%

+ + + + + + X + + + + + + + + + + X +

+ + + + + + + + X + + X X + + X + + + + + + + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + X + +

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + X + + + + + +

+ + / + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + +

+ + / + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

+ + / + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X

+ + / + + + + + + + + + + + + + + X + + + + + + +

Dist # House Member 24 RAYMOND WALLACE of Dexter 150 106 46 7 5 95 75 WINDOL WEAVER of York DAVID WEBSTER of Freeport JOAN WELSH of Rockport ALEXANDER WILLETTE of Mapleton MICHAEL WILLETTE of Presque Isle TOM WINSOR of Norway STEPHEN WOOD of Sabattus

Party R R D D R R R R

125th 0% 0% 75% 100% 13% 0% 0% 0%

LD 1816 + X

LD 1179 + + -

LD 1774 + + X

LD 1498 + + -

LD 322
/

LD 1333 / + + -

LD 447 LD 281
/ /

+ + -

+ + -

+ + -

MSBC Member Surveys: Your Opinions Matter!
Ever feel like you’ve just finished completing one survey from MSBC when another one comes? Curious about our seeming obsession with your beliefs about environmental regulations or your experience with rising health insurance costs? We wanted to take a moment and explain the two big reasons why we’re always asking for your opinions and stories: 1) We care about your opinions. Honestly. When we’re trying to sort out our issue priorities, or decide which legislative campaigns make the most sense to take on, one of the determining factors in our process is the interest from our membership. 2) The press and our national allies want to hear your stories. Think of MSBC as the string stretched between two plastic cups. In one treehouse, you and our other MSBC members do work that drives Maine’s economy. In another treehouse, members of the media attempt to tell stories about “real” small business owners and your reaction to topics as varied as the Bush-era tax breaks to MaineCare cuts. Of course, the more information we have about your story and the issues you’re passionate about, the more we can get in sync with requests for a grocer in Lewiston who experienced a hike in health insurance rates or a knitter in Bangor concerned with BPA in products for kids.

Agree Disagree Do not know

Recent survey results: In January 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its Citizens United decision that corporations are free to spend unlimited sums of money in elections. Do you believe this change is good for small businesses, bad for small businesses, or has no impact? 92% said bad, 1% said good, 2% no impact, 5% undecided On personal taxes, Bush-era tax breaks for households with incomes above $250,000 a year are scheduled to end at the close of this year. As a small business owner, do you think Congress should end these breaks for the top income brackets or renew them? 96% think Congress should end tax breaks, 3% think Congress should maintain them, 1% undecided Would you support efforts to implement a universal singlepayer health care system in Maine to provide universal health care to all Mainers? 93% support, 1% oppose, 6% unsure Would you support or oppose setting limits on the size and risk-taking of Wall Street banks to avoid too-big-to-fail bank bailouts? 87% support, 5% oppose, 8% undecided

MSBC Canvasser speaks to a small business owner in Saco, Maine

Why MSBC?
Lately, it’s been clear that the national Chamber of Commerce has anything but the interests of Maine business owners as the source of their issue priorities. Recently, the national Chamber purchased almost $500,000 in television advertising to attack Angus King, candidate for U.S.Senate. We took issue with the ad campaign not because of the target, but because of the big money politics behind it. The Chamber is focused on pushing an agenda that supports big businesses and health insurance companies - not Main Street businesses. In the follow-up to the Chamber’s ad campaign and endorsement of Charlie Summers, MSBC’s critique of the national Chamber drew the attention of a Summers’ campaign manager, who referred to MSBC as a “make-believe group.” Interestingly, despite our willingness to disclose the number of MSBC members across the state and our ongoing effort to share the stories of small business owners in the press and with elected officials, the national Chamber declined multiple requests by the media to disclose the number of their members in Maine. But really, why would we expect anything different? The national Chamber took millions in donations from AHIP, the lobbying arm of corporate health insurance companies. When you’re accepting resources from and colluding with the likes of Anthem, it’s tough to imagine being on the side of small business owners attempting to provide quality health insurance for their employees. Despite claims to the contrary, MSBC is quite real. Members like you, all across Maine, have signed up to be a part of our work to create a business environment that helps small businesses thrive without sacrificing the values we believe in. When you receive our emails or get a phone call asking you to take action, know that we’re working hard to carve out space for voices like yours in Maine politics. And know, when we’re going up against an outof-touch conservative agenda and fighting back against national special-interest groups available to the highest bidder, that we’re counting on you to help us win. The calls you make, the letters you write, and the donations you contribute allow us to continue building an organization capable of making change and creating a better Maine for our communities and small businesses.

MSBC members enjoy a day at the state house during MSBC’s Lobby Day

Small business owners call for the 1% to pay thier fair share of taxes

The Fair Share Economy: Jobs, Health Care, and Education - Human Rights
We know that small businesses thrive in a Maine that attracts educated, healthy workers. We think that a decent paying job, access to quality healthcare and an affordable education are things should be available to all Mainers and are the key to thriving communities. That’s why we support a Fair Share Economy, a vision for a progressive tax structure in Maine where everyone pays their fair share and everyone gets a fair shot at jobs, healthcare and education. The Facts 1) In 2009, the top 1% in Maine earned almost as much as the bottom 50% combined. 2) The top 10% earned nearly as much as everyone else combined. 3) Low income Mainers paid an overall state and local effective tax rate 70% higher than what the richest 1% pay. 4) The LePage tax cuts will give the top 1% nearly $3,000 each in tax breaks. In contrast, most Mainers will get less than $100 back. 5) Wal-Mart gets over $1 million a year in tax breaks. Maine gives away more in tax breaks each year than we spend in actual programs. Our Plan 1) Universal education from pre-K through college. Education is a human right. From the time a child is 3 years old until they enroll in the University of Maine or Community College system, their education should be free. 2) $1 billion to eliminate unemployment. Meaningful work is a human right. The Job Creation Fund will create jobs in key sectors of the economy, such as infrastructure, health care, clean energy, and education. We’ll also raise the minimum wage to $10/hr to get closer to a living wage. 3) Publicly financed health care. Health care is a human right. In a “single payer” system with no health insurance companies, everyone gets the care they need by contributing what they can afford through taxes. 4) We’ll pay for it by making our tax system fair. Lower taxes for the bottom 70%. The top 10% will pay 5% more than low-income Mainers pay now.

Want a sticker to let people know you support our vision to move Maine forward? Send in a contribution to MSBC.

MSBC Member Profile
Shelly Mountain, LCD Trucking, Mapleton, ME
Tell us about your business My husband and I are self-employed. We own a self-loading log truck. My husband loads from pre-dawn to dusk. My role is administrative and bookkeeping, of which there is a lot, because truck operation and forestry are heavily regulated industries. What are some of the challenges running a small business in Maine? There are a couple that come to mind – financing and health care. Financing is a challenge. We need to upgrade equipment and can’t get financing. Before 2008, we never had a problem, but now the banks tell us we don’t have enough collateral. Health care has always been expensive and the insurance we can afford has a very high deductible. Now, with LD1333, I’m very worried, because my husband is in a high risk job, we live in rural Maine, and we’re over 45. I’m fairly certain we won’t be able to afford health insurance soon. What’s the greatest opportunity you as a small business? The most significant opportunity it has provided was that it allowed me to stay home with my children when they were small. My kids have learned a lot, and are both good at the business, so even if they decide not to go in the business, it’s shown them a way to succeed – it’s given them an opportunity to know what they want. There’s always truck driving jobs and mechanics jobs. Even without that, if we hadn’t been self employed, we have been able to put money into college funds for them. We’ve been able to provide them opportunities we might not have otherwise. Governor LePage recently installed an “Open for Business” sign at the Maine border. Reaction? I think he’s sincere in that he wants people to know Maine is open for business, but not for Maine business. The fact that the mill in Millinocket, which was saved when the State of Maine stepped in, supported by our tax dollars, is not buying Maine wood shows that. That he’s so supportive of hiring Canadian loggers over Maine loggers shows he’s open to making sure foreign business is welcome in Maine. But I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s doing much to support real Maine businesses. And with the new health care law, I think he’s hurting local business, especially in rural Maine. He pays lip service, but his policies are not supportive of Maine business. Why are you a member of the Maine Small Business Coalition? The MSBC is a socially-conscious small business organization that doesn’t believe we have to sacrifice health and equality to be successful. The other business organizations that purport to be advocates for small businesses actually seem to care more about large “small businesses” and big business. The Chamber and the NFIB advocate conservative views that perpetuate the inequality and injustices that collapsed the economy in 2008. They oppose almost any regulation and they lobby against everything that I believe are important: social justice, economic equality, clean air and safe products.

Small business owner Shelly Mountain speaks at a press conference on LD1333 in Augusta

Ending Unfair Tax Breaks

Rate Hikes - Continued
year his family paid $10,000 in health care costs in addition to their skyrocketing premiums. The legislature’s insistence on putting profits in front of people returned power to Anthem to discriminate against policyholders in rural areas of the state as well as against small business owners attempting to offer health care benefits to seniors. The rate hike bill is a crystal-clear example of the need for conservatives to move beyond talking points and understand that controlling health care costs for small business owners means limiting the influence of insurance companies in the legislature. When a person is pulled over for speeding, the police officer doesn’t ask the driver what she thinks the speed limit should be before writing a ticket – the officer enforces the law. Letting Anthem have a seat at the table to write rules governing their own profit margins is a recipe for disaster, and MSBC members intend to share stories of sky-high insurance rates with candidates for office to find out who really stands with small business owners.

Rally against Anthem rate hikes in Augusta

125th - Continued
so many of our statements of belief, this common-sense position came under attack in the 2012 session. This time, we had the opportunity to do something relatively rare for us this legislative session: we won! More than 70 MSBC members lent their support to an effort to keep BPA out of food and packaging for toddlers and infants. This sort of policy is about as common-sense as we could imagine, particularly since there are affordable and safe alternatives to BPA readily available. Unfortunately, some legislators are all-too-willing to label any regulation as over-regulation and stand opposed to longterm solutions that help guarantee safer products for children. Moments like this are perfect opportunities for the small business community to speak up and clearly express the imperative to sell safe products in safe packaging for the benefit of healthy kids. We appreciate members who helped the Department of Environmental Protection understand that being pro-business also means being pro-environment and pro-reasonable safety and health protections.

One of the most pressing issues on the national policy horizon is a vote on the extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy. This vote is expected to be cast in the lame duck session, the period of Congressional business between Election Day and the swearingin of newly-elected members of Congress in 2013. As is often the case with issues that will be decided by a narrow margin, Senator Olympia Snowe and Senator Susan Collins are viewed by many political observers as potential swing votes. Small business voices are often able to communicate a message of fairness and growth in a way that few others can capture, so we scheduled phone calls with our U.S. Senators to discuss the need to end tax breaks for the wealthy. MSBC members spoke with Mark LeDuc, Senator Collins’ staff person handling tax & budget issues, to discuss the need to end the Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest 2%. Members shared their experiences as small business owners operating in an economy where money on Main Street has dried up and business suffers as a result. One of our members, an electrical engineer, talked about the consolidation of wealth at the top as a key reason that new construction slowed almost to a standstill, hurting his ability to provide for his family and put others to work. Another MSBC member commented that his business caters to high-end wage earners - the very people who receive these tax breaks and he stands to benefit from the wealthy spending more disposable income. However, he opposes extending the tax breaks because, as MSBC members speak at press conference he put it, “my kids still go to public school, I still drive on the roads and bridges, and I still live in a community where people can’t afford health care.” Mark was interested in finding a way to protect pass-through small business income from increased taxation, but seemed to find many points of agreement with MSBC members. He said that Senator Collins intends to “push for serious tax reform in 2013,” and left the door open for us to advocate ending these tax breaks in the lame duck session as part of a larger debate about debt and deficits. Hearing personal stories from small business owners was something that Mark admitted did not happen as often as receiving a release or report from the national Chamber, and he liked knowing that multiple towns in Maine were represented on the call. MSBC members also spoke with Scott McAndless, who handles tax & trade policy for Senator Olympia Snowe. Scott heard similar stories from our members, including a prominent owner of a well-known Maine business talk about the negative effect on his business of the growing inequality gap. Members were clear that kicking the can down the road does not count as a solution for small business owners, and it shouldn’t be an option for the Senate, either.

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MSBC uses a different model than the Chamber of Commerce and the NFIB when it comes to funding our work: we don't require that you pay dues. The newsletter in your hands is paid for by a variety of sources, but you aren't required to contribute financially to receive it (or any of our other correspondence, for that matter). This is an intentional choice: we know that many small businesses can’t afford high membership costs, and we don’t want to turn anyone away from being a part of our network. Speaking up for small businesses and small business owners is the work of the Coalition, and the doors are open to anyone who wants to join. We let you decide when and how much money you contribute to MSBC because we trust your instincts. We know that when you see us in the press, or at a committee hearing, or hear us on the phone gathering data for a survey, you’re looking for ways to help contribute to the work. For the first time ever, we’ve put together a paper newsletter and mailed it out –we thought it was important that you saw how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. I’m asking you to consider supporting MSBC by committing to a monthly pledge. Your donation of $20/month (or whatever you can give) helps us budget the coming months in the most efficient way possible –and if anyone understands that, it’s small business owners. Your donations give us the flexibility we need to be responsive to what’s happening in Maine, and to help get your voices into the conversation about how to make our state work for everyone. Stay in touch with MSBC: Kevin Simowitz Organizer, Maine Small Business Coalition 207-200-5240 www.mainesmallbusiness.org www.facebook.com/mainesmallbusiness kevin@mainesmallbusiness.org

Melanie Collins makes a delivery of a one-way ticket home for Anthem lobbyists to Senator Snowe’s office