What are your ideas for how you would support and grow state support for small business owners?
Answer: The best thing the state can do for small business owners is improve the business climate. One of the major issues facing all Mainer’s and especially small business owners is heating and electricity costs. We must continue to invest in natural gas so we can expand it throughout the state. The same goes for electricity. We must no longer simply subsidize special interest energy projects, when the result is increased electricity bills for Mainer’s. This higher cost of business prevents employers from creating more jobs and employees from receiving higher wages and benefits.
Would you use tax credits to create job opportunities in Maine? And, if so, how would you use them? How would you determine which types of businesses would receive them?
Answer: There is no doubt that our tax structure is archaic and is part of the problem in bringing job creators to Maine. While I have supported tax credits in some instances, for long-term economic growth Maine must look to decrease tax rates as a whole instead of a patchwork of credit programs. This will not only help out our job creators, but will help all Mainers keep more money in their pockets.
What are your thoughts about leveling the playing field between Maine’s local businesses and national chains and online retailers? How would you do so?
Answer: As the former general manager of Mardens I fully understand the complexity of navigating through the global marketplace as a Maine grown business. There is no doubt that local businesses are a critical part of our economy, but I want anyone willing to create jobs to feel welcome to do so in Maine.
What industries and business sectors do you see as valuable to the statewide economy?
Answer: All industries and business sectors are valuable to the Maine economy. I believe that all job creators should be welcomed with open arms in Maine, especially those who can provide good paying career jobs. That being said, for long-term economic growth we must increase our manufacturing sector making value added products here in Maine.
What are your thoughts on raising the minimum wage?
Answer: I have said that I will support an increase if the federal government increases the wage nationwide, but would not increase it only in Maine. Increasing the wage here in Maine would put us at a competitive disadvantage with our neighboring states.
What are your thoughts on Medicaid expansion and ACA provisions as they pertain to small businesses?
Answer: My administration worked hard to pay off the hospital debt created by the previous Medicaid expansion. We are working to ensure that Mainer’s who qualify for the ACA exchanges are connected with navigators to sign them up for private health insurance. The ACA has had many negative impacts on our small businesses and Mainer’s as a whole with increased premiums and people losing their doctors. That being said it is the law of the land, and until Congress and the President change the law it is what we must work with here in Maine.
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