The governor and Republican leadership have been making headlines over the past few weeks for threatening vetoes and a state government shutdown. As a Mainer, proud of our state’s reputation for a tough work ethic and can-do attitude, I find their remarks frustrating. We were elected by our constituents to represent and work for them in Augusta, and I will continue to do just that.
To that end, I have sponsored a number of bills this session, and each would benefit Mainers. One of my bills is LD 743, and it would extend and improve the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program. This program provides tax credits to private equity investors who invest in eligible Maine businesses, and has been incredibly successful in Maine in helping startup businesses to secure private equity investments. In just the past year, the tax credits helped to lower risk for the investors who, in turn, invested $4.67 million in a dozen Maine companies. Since its creation, 128 Maine companies have received capital.
However, the program has become a victim of its own success and it has now reached its statutory cap. My bill would extend the program by instating an annual cap on credits, and increasing the annual sales limit from $3 million to $5 million. It would also require eligible businesses to certify that investment is necessary to create and/or retain Maine jobs. Jobs of the future include high tech and R&D businesses. Just like with traditional businesses in Maine, growth is the key to success. Access to venture capital has historically been difficult for Maine entrepreneurs. We lag far behind other New England states and the nation in average annual venture capital investment per capita, with only one-third the average annual investment per capita of Vermont and about one-ninth the annual investment in neighboring New Hampshire. This bill is a tool to support emerging and traditional industries by easing access to important private equity funds.
As LD 743 is important to job creation and retainment in Maine, another bill that I am sponsoring is LD 249. This bill is important to providing access to healthcare in Maine. A lack of oral healthcare can lead to serious health problems, and my bill will help more Mainers to access dental services. Statewide, Maine has a shortage or oral health care providers. My bill would allow dental students, such as those attending the University of New England, to perform dental services appropriate to their level of training, and under the supervision of a licensed dentist or a teaching school. This would increase providers across the state. These are just two of the numerous bills I am sponsoring this session. As your senator, I am willing to work with all members of the Legislature and continue to fight for your best interests.
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