County Business Report 2.27.2021 Tax Conformity


AUGUSTA Maine (WAGM) -The Legislature’s Taxation Committee advanced Governor Janet Mills’ compromise tax conformity proposal that provides relief to a majority of Maine small businesses.

As Shawn Cunningham reports in this week’s County Business Report, some lawmakers say there are still hurdles that need to be overcome if the full legislature plans to approve the measure in the next few weeks.

State lawmakers will be back at it, convening on March 10th and 11th. A major issue to be taken up will be Governor Mills proposed tax conformity plan which she touts as an across the aisle compromise. It seeks to exempt $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds from state income tax laws and give full relief to Maine small businesses. But some state lawmakers including those from her own party…say its far from perfect and needs to reworked quite a bit before they sign on board.

Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D) District 1

“we wanted to help small businesses this will help its not enough but it definitely is something to help.”

Sen. Trey Stewart (R) District 2

“to suggest that we compromised by only taxing those that are over a million dollars and low in size is simply not true because of those larger loans those account for almost 20% of the employees that were not laid off during the pandemic”

Shawn Cunningham NO STANDUP

Under the plan, loan proceeds beyond $1 million would be taxable income in Maine, allowing SOME deductions. Mills tours the upside would provide full financial forgiveness to a number of Maine businesses and still allowing some larger businesses that employ more than 43 thousand people to claim a portion of their federal loans as income. But as it stands right now state lawmakers remain partisanly apart…roughly $18 million apart. For his stance, Stewart explains why the deal at all isn’t for county businesses….

“we’re not talking about the millionaires of Maine we’re talking about businesses like auto repair shops we’re talking about sandwich shops we’re talking about nonprofit agencies that have been providing critical services here in the county.”

Jackson says while he’ll support the deal, there are more Mainers that need financial support and those are the ones he’s most scared for…

“we have workers throughout the state I think 1.8 billion dollars was paid out in unemployment benefits in Maine and that’s still taxable so while I’m supportive of small businesses I think we’ve left some other people behind and trying to help them would be the next thing on the horizon I don’t know if that’s possible because that’s a big price tag too.”

The proposal now moves to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, then to the full Legislature. Shawn Cunningham, NS 8.

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