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  • Survey finds 87% of Maine business owners support minimum wage referendum and want a fair tax system


    Main Street Alliance (MSA), a national organization committed to providing a voice for small business owners, today released the results of a survey of over 1,000 small business owners on varied public policy issues. The small business owners were asked about issues ranging from corporate taxes to job quality issues, as well as local policies that affect small businesses. The results of the surveys reveal that many small business owners share views at odds with the most high-profile business lobby groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

    In Maine, a huge majority (87 percent) of surveyed small business owners support the proposed referendum to raise Maine's minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020. The referendum is sponsored by the Maine People's Alliance and has been endorsed by the Maine Small Business Coalition.

    John Costin, who was featured in the report and owns Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk.

    "Raising the minimum wage in Maine will help keep our products and services affordable and attainable to a larger customer base. Increased demand for our work will help us continue to create high-paying jobs - reducing unemployment and increasing sales, driving growth throughout the state," said John Costin, who was featured in the report and owns Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk. 

    Nearly three-quarters of surveyed small business owners said that large corporations currently pay less than their fair share of taxes (72 percent) and that corporate tax loopholes hurt small businesses (74 percent).

    "These findings reveal that small business owners agree with most Americans that our tax code is tipped towards the elite that can afford high powered lobbyists," said Will Ikard, director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, which is a local affiliate of MSA. "Not only are hard-working Maine employees suffering from an unfair tax system, hard-working small business owners are too."



    In response to questions about job quality and worker protection laws, small business owners again differed from the aggressive lobbying of those business groups with the most national influence. For example, supermajorities of respondents support a federal paid sick day policy (65 percent) and a paid family leave policy (64 percent).

    "In order to sustain [our] growth, we must ensure that Mainers can afford products and services that companies like mine provide," said Costin. "Increased demand for our work will help us continue to create high-paying jobs - reducing unemployment and increasing sales, driving growth throughout the state."