Entries Filed in 'Issue 30'

MTI awards $57,500 in Seed Grant round

May 15th, 2011 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Economy, Issue 30

At its May board meeting, the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) Board of Directors awarded five new Seed Grants totaling $57,500 to entrepreneurs and companies across the state. This round of MTI awards leveraged over $161K of matching contributions from the award recipients toward their projects.

“Every time MTI awards a round of Seed Grants we are investing in a prosperous future and good jobs for Maine,” said Betsy Biemann, President of MTI.

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People could be forced off health-care insurance policies with Republican-backed health-care proposal

May 9th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Health Care, Issue 30, Uncategorized

MECEP's maps of health care before and after LD 1333 — if enacted.

Republican legislators, by pushing a sweeping rewrite of Maine’s health-insurance laws, could be forcing people off their insurance plans, because those citizens would not be able to afford the increases to their insurance policies.

This bill will lead to a loss of insurance coverage, which means less care and more sick people,” said Dr. DeCarolis, a primary-care doctor from Bethel.

Nate Libby, the director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, said that more than 1,476 small-business owners signed a petition in opposition to LD 1333.

Nate Libby, director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, holds signatures of over 1,400 businesses that oppose LD 1333 Photo by R. du Houx

Legislation similar to LD 1333 has failed in other states,” said Libby. “Not long ago, New Hampshire voted to support a similar practice, and within two years they repealed it, because it was hurting so many companies. Small businesses need a plan that allows us to band together to improve our purchasing power, not undermine our bottom lines.”

The 49-page bill, LD 1333, was rammed through the Insurance and Financial Services Committee, not giving members time to read the amended legislation. The process was legal but in violation of joint rules. Rep. Sharon Treat, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Insurance Committee, sent a formal request for information and analysis on the proposed legislation to the state’s nonpartisan policy analysis office, asking for time to have the Bureau of Insurance analyze the bill — but her request was not granted.

“Why won’t they [Republicans] let the Bureau of Insurance run the actuaries? — so we can better understand what this plan will do to the state of Maine. People elected us to make smart decisions. We are not taking the time we should be on the major overhaul of Maine’s health care,” said Senator Justin Alfond. “The consequences for people over forty and small businesses in rural Maine could be devastating. LD 1333 is a tax on 600,000 people, in the state of Maine.”

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JMG, educating teens, helps students get ready for college and careers

May 8th, 2011 · No Comments · Education, Issue 30, Issues

JMG's Career Development Conference at the Civic Center in Augusta
More than 500 seniors from the Jobs for Maine’s Graduates’ (JMG) program proved they are ready for college and the workforce as they participated in JMG’s 19th annual Career Development Conference (CDC) at the Augusta Civic Center on May 5, 2011.

“As seniors, we’ve worked really hard all year, writing resumes, working on leadership, communication and team-building skills. CDC is kind of where the rubber hits the road. It’s a chance for us to show we’re ready for whatever path we take after graduation,”
said Holly Allen, a JMG student from Gardiner High School.

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Using composites in unique, innovative ways is a recipe for success for Harbor Technologies

May 6th, 2011 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Issue 30

ME DOT Knickerbocker Bridge built with Hybrid Composite Beams manufactured at Harbor Technologies
Ever wonder how a diving board springs back into place without being damaged, or how fishing rods are so flexible? That recoverable deflection is the result of using composite materials. Polyester resin applied to fiberglass or other materials can make everyday objects stronger, less corrosive, more durable and flexible. Finding innovative ways to incorporate composites in building materials is an engineering art, and potentially big business.

In Brunswick, Harbor Technologies is blazing a trail with composite products. Just after seven years in operation, the company saw sales jump 200 percent to more than $6 million in 2010.

Their diversity and flexibility in designing made-to-order products make them stand apart from competitors. From building bridges of understanding about how composites can be used to actually building bridges made from composites, Harbor Technologies’ portfolio of different projects is impressive.

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Maine’s tax burden on new business investment is the lowest in the country

May 6th, 2011 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Economy, Issue 30

It’s the truth. A new study conducted by the Quantitative Economic and Statistics Practice at Ernst & Young LLP said Maine imposes the smallest tax burden on new investments.

The study: Competitiveness of state and local business taxes on new investment—Ranking states by tax burden on new investment stated, “Maine’s business tax structure imposes the smallest burden on new investment for the selected industries analyzed.”

This reality is due to the following factors- taken directly from the report:

• Maine uses a single sales factor corporate income apportionment formula.

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UMaine’s three floating wind turbine models are tested with MARIN

May 6th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Business & Innovation, Creative Economy, Education, Energy Issues, Issue 30, Maine's green energy potential

The DeepCwind Consortium led by the University of Maine has been working with the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) to test their three different floating wind turbine concepts. To obtain the data needed MARIN and the DeepCwind Consortium developed a new high quality wind generation machine. It was the first time in the world that such extensive scale model tests have been conducted in this field.

Floating wind turbines are considered to be the next step in development of offshore wind energy. Floating wind turbines can collect higher levels of wind energy because of the increased wind in the deep ocean. Eighty two percent of Maine’s coastline has the highest degree of offshore wind, level 5, making the resource unlimited. Selecting the most economical platform with minimized motions is a technical challenge.

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Rollback on a child labor law- stopped in LCRED committee

May 6th, 2011 · No Comments · Capitol news, Civil Rights, Education, Issue 30

Rep. John Tuttle the lead Democrat on the LCRED committee. photo by Ramona du Houx
The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee voted in a show of bipartisan support to oppose a bill removing minimum wage and hour protections for working teens.

“Today in Augusta, members of the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee voted ought not to pass on a bill that would have rolled back decades of bipartisan support for child labor protections. The Maine Women’s Lobby lauds their decision – for Maine teens – and Maine’s economy,” said Sara Standford of the Maine Women’s Lobby.

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We can compete and grow jobs by being fiscally and socially responsibly

May 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Creative Economy, Editorials, Issue 30

Some of us may not like it but the reality is government can help grow the economy. Some say we don’t want government involved in our daily lives. But they don’t take the time to realize how much we depend on government’s services.

To get to work we depend on our transportation infrastructure. What private company is going to pay for our highways? President Eisenhower understood the necessity for commerce to get the goods to market on time in order to compete, so he started America’s Interstate Highway System. He put thousands to work for years, which gave industries the confidence to invest in innovative ideas. He also gave us the G.I. Bill — which gave a generation a new chance at life with a college education.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) put people back to work all over the country.

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Maine exports hit record high in 2010

May 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Economy, Issue 30

Maine exports hit a record high in 2010, rebounding after dropping significantly in 2009. That’s according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division, which shows that Maine exported $3.15 billion in goods in 2010. That amounts to a 41 percent hike over 2009.

According to the International Trade Center, the previous record of $3.02 billion for exports was set in 2008, which was $2.23 billion.

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Bioscience manufacturing on the rise in Maine

May 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Economy, Issue 30

Bioscientest at work
The strength of Maine bioscience manufacturing attracts global attention from leading centers of health-care innovation. Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have invested in Maine’s bioscience industries.

• From 2000 through November 2010, Maine exports have grown a 56 percent. Maine biotech exports have increased 129 percent and medical devices and scientific equipment increased 311 percent.

• Bioscience provides wages 67 percent higher than the Maine average and the second highest wage of all tech sectors.

• Since 2002, the number of employees have increased 29 percent to over 6,000 and revenues of industry companies have increased 209 percent to $1.6 billion.

Bioscience manufacturing in Maine has developed around key technologies such as antibody manufacturing, medical devices, and diagnostic test development.

Governor John Baldacci started innovation-cluster growth grants, awarded through the Maine Technology Institute, which has issued bond funds for bioscience research. Experts say that continued research and development grants would continue to help the growth of this industry.

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