Andrew Ian Dodge

Andrew Ian Dodge

Three years into the LePage administration, we are starting to see what effect his policies are having on Maine and its economy. And to make matters worse Le- Page and company have managed to make it even harder to make a living in Maine.

First of all, for the fourth straight year, Maine has been ranked as the worst place for doing business by Forbes magazine.

Reversing this trend was one of LePage’s major issues when running for office. Once he got into office he even had a sign installed on the Turnpike saying that “Maine is open for business.” Considering the ranking, business doesn’t seem to agree at all.

Of course LePage is blaming the Democrats for this latest ranking. If LePage had suffered with Democrats controlling both the House and Senate, that might have worked. However, LePage had two years of Republicans controlling both houses. Instead of getting things done to make business more welcome in Maine, he was busy having a squabble over a mural.

Not surprisingly, Maine is also the “48th worst place to make a living in the country,” according to the finance website MoneyRates.com. Considering how unfriendly Maine is to business, it is shocking that Maine is not bouncing on the bottom of that ranking as well.

And LePage has just made it even harder for Mainers to make a living. His new Internet taxation law — which most likely violates the Commerce Clause — has caused Amazon to end its associates program for those living in Maine.

Amazon Associates is a major source of income for many who work and make their living online. We know that LePage and his administration know nothing about Internet, but this latest move is a bad news for all.

Bryan Daugherty has written an excellent piece at Liberty Roll on this issue and interviewed several entrepreneurial Mainers. adversely affected by this latest attack on small business.

“This move is clearly a constitutional violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States and a violation of the Internet Tax Freedom Act,” Daugherty writes. “It is a clear attempt to get around the 1992 Supreme Court Quill vs. North Dakota ruling which says states can only compel out of state retailers to collect sales tax from local buyers if they have a physical presence in the state.”

We, in Maine, take pride in that fact our citizens are adept in making their own way in commerce, LePage should be encouraging this trend instead of curtailing it.

Mainers who supplement their incomes through affiliate or associate agreements with online retailers, such as Amazon.com, face being cut off from these sources of income, as retailers have shown a resistance to becoming the tax collectors for states, such as Maine, who are reaching beyond their own boundaries and jurisdictions in search of additional tax revenues.

Is it any wonder that Maine had a net loss of 11,000 people last year according to the census?

LePage promised a whole new attitude toward business when he ran. Instead, we have an administration that has made Maine a worse place to do business and threatened the livelihoods of those managing to do it in these tough times.

As far as most Mainers can tell, the only person that has benefited from a LePage administration is his daughter — who was given a cushy job with high pay despite being thinly qualified.

If Maine ever wants to get out of the basement of business and “making a living” tables, it needs to have a serious look at how it treats businesses old — and new.

ANDREW IAN DODGE is a libertarian former U.S. Senate candidate and writer who lives in Harpswell.


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