Posted: October 10, 2014 | Senator Boyle

SCARBOROUGH – Today, Democratic Senator Jim Boyle of Gorham met with local business owners and staff to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in Maine.

“Maine is a small business state,” said Senator Boyle, who is also a small business owner. “Roughly 97% of Maine’s businesses have fewer than 50 employees, and as a legislator, it is important for me to hear their concerns.”

Maine’s economy is driven by and depends on small businesses. With this in mind, the 126th Legislature made economic growth a top priority and developed an agenda to help small businesses create good-paying jobs for Maine people.

Democrats created the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future to focus on meeting the needs of businesses and workers for successful growth. The Workforce Committee heard from leaders in the business and research and development communities to develop a $50 million bond package to improve Maine’s economic outlook. The focus of the bonds, which will be on the ballot in November, is to provide funding that small businesses and institutions will use specifically for job creation efforts.

The 126th Legislature also worked to make it easier for small businesses to attract private investment. Senator Boylesupported a law that provides funding for the Seed Capital program, which provides tax credits to private investors who invest in eligible Maine businesses. Every $1 spent yields $8 of investment; in 2012, $4.67 million was invested in a dozen Maine companies and since the creation of the program 128 Maine companies have received capital. He also supporteda new law that makes it easier for entrepreneurs and startups to raise money through crowd-investing. This initiative costs the state no money; it simply modified regulations to make it easier for Mainers to invest in new local businesses.

Given Maine’s continuing economic challenges, Democratic Senators have been meeting with as many business owners and their employees as they can before the next legislative session starts in January. Any new legislation that can help Maine’s economy start to recover the jobs lost during the recession will need to be submitted before the deadline that will be set by the Legislative Council in November. Democratic Legislators are working to be able to move quickly on such proposals at the beginning of the year.

“The Legislature took some great steps forward to help provide small businesses with resources and a strong labor force – but we still have plenty we need to improve upon,” said Senator Boyle.

Photos of Senator Boyle visiting LAI International and Oak Hill Beverage can be found here.