Also signs into law package of bills supporting Maine restaurants, bars, and distilleries
Governor Janet Mills announced today that she has signed the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 supplemental budget into law. The bipartisan supplemental, which passed the Senate unanimously and the House by a vote of 139-1, provides State income tax relief to all Maine businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program funds and exempts unemployment benefits from State income taxes for approximately 160,000 Mainers.
“This supplemental budget is the result of a long and, at times, arduous debate. But ultimately it was sensible compromise on all sides that got it across the finish line,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Because of that, approximately 160,000 Maine people who received unemployment benefits and the 28,000 Maine businesses that received PPP funds will receive tax relief – important progress as we continue to fight the pandemic, keep Maine people healthy and vaccinate them as quickly as possible, and accelerate our economic recovery. I commend all parties and Democratic and Republican leadership for this bipartisan outcome.”
“The Maine State Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Governor Mills and the Legislature for working hard and in a bipartisan manner to solve problems and enact a supplemental budget that will provide critical relief to Maine businesses and unemployed Maine people alike,” said Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to address other pressing issues facing our state and continuing our economic recovery.”
The Governor also signed into law a package of bills sponsored by Senator Louis Luchini (D-Ellsworth) that, in part, codifies into law Executive Orders she has issued supporting restaurants, bars and distilleries, which have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor signed LD 205, “An Act To Extend the Ability of Restaurants and Bars To Serve Alcohol To Go,” LD 306 “An Act To Temporarily Waive Certain Requirements for Relicensing for Restaurants That Serve Liquor” and LD 307, “An Act To Expand the Market for Maine Liquor Manufacturers.”
“The pandemic has hit Maine’s restaurants, bars, and distilleries hard, but through the difficulty, they have adapted with characteristic Maine grit and determination,” said Governor Mills. “My Administration, whether providing economic recovery grants or allowing to-go sales of alcohol, has done and will continue to do all we can to help them through this difficult time. I applaud Senator Luchini for spearheading these bipartisan bills through the Legislature. They will provide continued flexibility and relief to our critical hospitality industry.”
“The pandemic has hit Maine’s hospitality industry particularly hard, especially restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries. They’ve made major changes to keep their staff and customers safe, but they need help. These bills give them the room they need to find stable financial footing and keep their doors open,” said Sen. Luchini. “I’m thankful to the governor for signing these bills into law. I know they’ll provide real help to many small businesses across our state.”
Highlights of the bipartisan supplemental budget include:
- Provides relief for 160,000 Mainers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic: The supplemental budget includes $47 million to exempt unemployment benefits from state income taxes for hardworking Mainers who lost their job through no fault of their own. This includes self-employed Mainers who saw their work dry up and Mainers who saw their workplaces close. Without this relief, Mainers who relied on unemployment benefits at some point during the pandemic would’ve been hit with $200-$500 per person in state taxes;
- Provides relief for Maine businesses: The supplemental budget allocates $100 million to exempt Maine businesses who accessed relief through the Paycheck Protection Program from state income taxes. This relief would support more than 28,000 businesses across the state.
- Provides relief for direct care workers and nonprofit providers: The supplemental budget provides $30 million in State and Federal money to the people who provide quality, compassionate care to Maine seniors, individuals with disabilities, and children. These funds target people who provide support through MaineCare sections 18, 20, 21, 29, 17, 28 and 65.
- Invests in veterans’ services: The supplemental budget honors our servicemen and women by providing more than $100,000 in support for Maine veterans. These funds will help hire a homeless veterans coordinator and fund basic maintenance for veterans’ cemeteries.
- Sets money aside for savings: The supplemental budget puts $8.2 million in the budget stabilization fund, also known as the “Rainy Day” fund, which will now have grown by more than $58 million during Governor Mills’ tenure.
- Supports the Early College Aspirations program for working-class Mainers: The Aspirations Program provides eligible Maine high school students with an opportunity to receive academic credits toward a high school diploma, and an associate or baccalaureate-level degree, through enrollment and successful completion of college-level courses at approved Maine institutions.
- Invests in a new Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System: This efficient new system, which improves DHHS’s ability to track and share data, will allow caseworkers to spend more time working directly with families.
- Takes steps to address contamination from “forever chemicals”: The supplemental budget establishes a fund to address growing concerns with PFAS.
- Promotes the construction of affordable housing in Maine: Language in the budget maximizes the value of Maine’s low income housing credit by conforming with a recent change to the federal credit.
In addition to the supplemental budget, the complete list of bills signed by Governor Mills is as follows:
- LD 2, An Act To Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process
- LD 5, An Act Concerning the Reporting of Health Care Information or Records to the Emergency Medical Services' Board (EMERGENCY)
- LD 6, An Act To Revise Certain Financial Regulatory Provisions of the Maine Insurance Code (EMERGENCY)
- LD 16, An Act To Change the Renewal Application Deadline from 6 Months to 60 Days before the Expiration of a License Issued by the Gambling Control Board
- LD 19, An Act To Amend the Maine Education Savings Program (EMERGENCY)
- LD 20, An Act To Provide for the 2021 and 2022 Allocations of the State Ceiling on Private Activity Bonds (EMERGENCY)
- LD 22, An Act To Authorize Early Payment of Anticipated Funds to the Loring Job Increment Financing Fund (EMERGENCY)
- LD 27, An Act To Provide an Immediate Opportunity To Appeal for a Juvenile Bound Over into Criminal Court
- LD 37, An Act To Amend the Laws Concerning the Retired County and Municipal Law Enforcement Officers and Municipal Firefighters Health Insurance Program (EMERGENCY)
- LD 40, Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 305: Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Traffic Movement Permits, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Transportation (EMERGENCY)
- LD 51, An Act To Enact the Maine Insurance Data Security Act
- LD 55, An Act To Protect Minority Religious Groups by Eliminating the Prior Approval Requirement for a School Absence for a Recognized Religious Holiday
- LD 60, An Act To Clarify the Minimum Amount of Emergency Refills of Insulin (EMERGENCY)
- LD 73, An Act To Authorize Municipalities To Allow Harbor Masters and Deputy Harbor Masters To Use Red and White Auxiliary Lights and Sirens When Responding to Emergencies
- LD 77, An Act To Authorize the Department of Marine Resources To Charge an Application Fee for Entering a Lottery for a Scallop License
- LD 91, An Act To Update the Maine Uniform Accounting and Auditing Practices Act for Community Agencies
- LD 102, An Act To Extend the Time Frame for Processing Absentee Ballots
- LD 104, An Act To Protect the Health of Student Athletes by Requiring the Establishment of Procedures To Report Concussions
- LD 138, An Act To Increase Student Reading Proficiency
- LD 145, An Act To Amend the Maine Uniform Probate Code (EMERGENCY)
- LD 154, Resolve, To Name Bridge 2267 in the Town of Embden and the Town of Solon the Jotham and Emma Stevens Bridge
- LD 162, An Act To Make Supplemental Allocations from the Highway Fund and Other Funds for the Expenditures of State Government and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2021
- LD 192, An Act To Define the Responsibilities of Residential Property Owners for the Maintenance and Repair of Private Roads
- LD 205, An Act To Extend the Ability of Restaurants and Bars To Serve Alcohol To Go (EMERGENCY)
- LD 209, An Act Concerning Name Changes for Minors
- LD 220, An Act To Make Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2021 (GOVERNOR'S BILL)
- LD 224, An Act To Modify Requirements for Multiple-party Accounts, Limited Purpose Financial Institutions and Mergers (EMERGENCY)
- LD 246, Resolve, To Direct Funds to the Tourism Marketing Promotion Fund (EMERGENCY)
- LD 275, An Act To Amend the Retirement Laws Pertaining to Certain Educational Technicians (EMERGENCY)
- LD 306, An Act To Temporarily Waive Certain Requirements for Relicensing for Restaurants That Serve Liquor (EMERGENCY)
- LD 307, An Act To Expand the Market for Maine Liquor Manufacturers (EMERGENCY)
- LD 377, An Act To Allow Public Members of the Maine-Canadian Legislative Advisory Commission To Receive Reimbursement for Travel Expenses (EMERGENCY)
- LD 571, Resolve, To Name a Bridge in the Town of Veazie the Hayward Carl Spencer Memorial Bridge