Small business owners in Maine were hopeful that this year would bring about legislative changes that would assist in building a more favorable business climate. Unfortunately, that hope is quickly turning to frustration as the realization that this year’s shortened legislative session and gubernatorial election will make that impossible.In a ballot last year, 85% of Maine members who responded to questions about the state’s business climate said economic conditions weren’t getting better. Only 7% saw improvement.
Small business owners are particularly upset by the state-sponsored Dirigo health insurance program, failure to kill the tax on business equipment and efforts to increase Maine’s minimum wage.
Officials understand that the small business owners are frustrated, but believe progress toward a more friendly business climate has been made. They acknowledge that the Dirigo program will cost money upfront, but saves it in the long run. There is also speculation that a controversial tax on business equipment has a good chance of being repealed this year.