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Updated: November 4, 2020

Maine business, nonprofit leaders share 2021 policy 'wish lists' for lawmakers

C Salt sign on election day Photo / Renee Cordes On Tuesday, a cafe in Cape Elizabeth was offering free coffee to people who voted.

Regardless of the election outcome, what do Maine business and nonprofit groups want from lawmakers in Washington and Augusta when they next convene? A handful of association leaders shared their 2021 policy "wish lists" with Mainebiz.

Help for restaurants and hotels

Portrait of Steve Hewins
File Photo / Tim Greenway
Steve Hewins, president and CEO of HospitalityMaine.

"We need continued financial aid and policy support for Maine's restaurants and hotels, the state's hardest hit economic sector. The amount of jobs and businesses lost from the pandemic response is going to take years to recover. "

- Steve Hewins, HospitalityMaine president and CEO 

Fed stimulus, state budget focus

"The No. 1 priority at the federal level is COVID-19 economic relief for businesses, the workforce, and state and local governments. Quickly passing a stimulus package is an absolute must to blunt the economic impact the winter months and a Coronavirus resurgence will have in Maine. At the state level, the focus will be on the budget. Tax revenues are significantly lower due to the pandemic, and it is going to be a real balancing act for lawmakers to determine spending priorities while making sure Maine’s economy is well-positioned to recover."

- Dana Connors, Maine State Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

Robust fed support, Mainers back to work 

Portrait of Chris Pinkham
Courtesy / Maine Bankers Association
Chris Pinkham, president of the Maine Bankers Association

"I believe our No. 1 federal priority is for the Congress to address the needs of families and businesses with a continuation of robust financial support programs. Small businesses need a continuation of a PPP-type program. The winter is long, and the successful use of new federal funds will help everyone move to whatever the new normal will be. Of equal concern is the need to share additional federal dollars with the states so decision-makers with local knowledge can deploy funds to rent or mortgage relief, unemployment and training initiatives, just to name a few. Also, the Maine Bankers Association supports allowing legal cannabis businesses operating under state law to have access to traditional banking, and only federal legislation can make that happen.

"In Maine, we need the legislature to recognize the current fiscal condition of the state and act to expand or curtail programs in a manner that prioritize support of families and businesses. Returning Mainers to work, safely returning our children to school and protecting our citizens needs to be the highest priority." 

- Chris Pinkham, Maine Bankers Association president

Work past health crisis, economic fallout

Todd Mason, head of the Maine Credit Union League
File photo / Jim Neuger
Todd Mason, president and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League, photographed at the organization's Westbrook headquarters in 2017.

"Ensuring that the legislative and regulatory environments do not impede how credit unions serve their members and their communities is our top priority no matter who is elected to office. In looking ahead to 2021, we wish to continue serving as an ally to lawmakers, united in our pandemic response in Maine. We know most policy agendas will be focused on working past the global health crisis and the economic ramifications it has caused. We want to help policymakers with their response, while also making sure credit union interests remain represented at all levels of government."

- Todd Mason, Maine Credit Union League president and CEO 

More COVID relief for nonprofits ...

File photo of Jennifer Hutchins on stage at a June 2019 event
File Photo / Maine Association of Nonprofits
Jennifer Hutchins, executive director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits

"Another round of COVID relief, to help employers who are doing their part by complying with public health guidelines and, as a result, experiencing debilitating declines in revenue. Public-facing nonprofits, like social services and arts/culture, continue to be particularly hard hit as they’ve been asked to either step up services while instituting costly safety measures or close down entirely for an indeterminant future. We also know that COVID relief is critical to support the sky-rocketing costs faced this year by state and local governments which will inevitably result in rebalancing cuts to public-serving nonprofits in 2021 and beyond."

- Jennifer Hutchins, Maine Association of Nonprofits executive director

... and educating state lawmakers about nonprofits 

Sarah Skillin Woodard portrait
Courtesy / Maine Association of Nonprofits
Sarah Skillin Woodard, advocacy and public affairs director at the Maine Association of Nonprofits

"Another priority MANP is focused on is educating the 130th legislature about the work and worth of the nonprofit sector. One of the biggest lessons we learned during the pandemic is that our sector isn't as well understood or as appreciated as we would like by state government and Congress. We've got a lot of work to do, but are energized by the nonprofits who have made such a difference this year in our communities."

- Sarah Skillin Woodard, Maine Association of Nonprofits advocacy and public affairs director

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