Maine’s Newest House Member Elected

On March 10th, Democrat Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center was elected to fill the vacant House District 93 seat (Rockland and Owls Head).  There was heavy spending by both Parties in this race.  While control of the Maine House was not up for grabs, the partisan margins in the House are quite close.  Democrats were able to retain control over this seat and the composition of the House has not changed due to the outcome of this race.  Pundits from both sides of the aisle are now trying to draw conclusions from this race and its meaning for the legislative session and Maine politics in general.   

Committee to Hear Nomination of Brian Whitney as President of Maine Technology Institute

The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee will hold a public hearing on March 16th on Governor LePage’s nomination of Brian Whitney to serve as President of the Maine Technology Institute (“MTI”).  MTI provides funding and support for start-up companies in specific economic sectors.  Whitney has been serving as Acting Director of MTI since August of 2014.  Before assuming that post, he worked in the Department of Economic and Community Development and was a long-time economic development staff person for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe.  Whitney is well known and well respected in Maine’s economic development circles. After Committee consideration of this nomination, it will proceed to the full Maine Senate for its consideration.

Taxation Committee Begins Deliberations on Tax Reform Package

This week, the Taxation Committee began its deliberations on the Governor’s tax reform package that is part of the biennial budget.  This Committee recently met jointly with the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee to hold over a week’s worth of public hearings on the tax package.  On March 10th and 11th, the Taxation Committee discussed the estate tax; corporate income tax; service provider tax; tree growth tax law; and sales tax portions of the tax package.  This review consisted mostly of the Committee receiving an explanation of these portions of the tax package from the Administration and Committee members asking questions of the Administration.  The Committee has not begun to formulate its major recommendations regarding the tax package, but there are some indications where elements of this tax package may go based on the Committee’s discussion.  The Taxation Committee will continue its deliberations next week and hopes to complete its work before the beginning of April.