- Quinn Malter
A Look Back at the 2021 Legislative Session
One of the most unique sessions in the Maine Legislature’s history has come to a close, and there is a lot to be proud of. Our lawmakers made it their mission to strengthen our public health in the wake of COVID-19, to create a more fair tax code, and to protect our democracy.
Here are some of the highlights of Maine’s 130th legislative session:
Our lawmakers tackled rising healthcare costs that are hurting our families and neighbors by creating the Healthcare Affordability Board. This board will collect data and diagnose problems in our healthcare system to help us properly fund solutions. This will curb surprise medical bills and make treatment more accessible for lower-income Mainers.
Maine legislators took on big corporations by banning corporate contributions to campaigns for state office to stop them from influencing our elections. They also blocked efforts to create restrictive voter ID laws that would make it harder for Mainers to vote.
In their passage of the supplemental budget, our leaders repealed a federal tax break that allowed big businesses to have a lower tax rate on foreign sales than small businesses and individuals. Closing this loophole ensured that Maine’s tax code doesn’t reward American corporations who move portions of their business overseas.
These are critical measures that make our state stronger, but there are still a number of bills the Legislature must address to combat the problems facing Maine’s working families and small businesses:
The Family Glitch
The “family glitch” is a dangerous loophole in the Affordable Care Act that affects nearly 30,000 Mainers. As a result of the “family glitch,” when a worker is offered an affordable health insurance plan from their employer, their entire family stops being eligible for lower-cost healthcare plans from the marketplace, even if the employer’s plan doesn’t offer affordable coverage for family members.
There is a bill waiting for the Legislature when they return that could fix the “family glitch”: LD 1463. We urge the Maine Legislature to pass this immediately upon their return.
Paid Family Leave
Nobody should have to choose between caring for their loved ones and earning a paycheck. The Legislature passed a bill that would create a commission to develop a Paid Family Leave program – when they return to session, they must go one step further, and create a Paid Family Leave program based on the commission’s recommendations.
Corporate Tax Loopholes
Right now, big corporations who do business in Maine don’t pay their fair share for the use of our roads, our hard workers and our resources. Some of these corporations utilize a loophole that allows them to hide profits in off-shore tax havens, so they don’t have to pay their fair share of taxes.
By closing these loopholes, Maine can generate millions of dollars of revenue, and make sure that our tax code works for us, not big corporations. There is a bill waiting for the Legislature that would close these loopholes. It’s critical that they pass it when they return to Augusta next session.
To our leaders in Augusta: We need health care we can afford, and afford to use. We need to be able to take time off when we’re sick, without risking our jobs. And we need to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. When our lawmakers return to the State House, we need them to get to work for Maine’s working families.