AUGUSTA – A labor union boss for the AFL-CIO Maine demonstrated an impoverished understanding of basic public policy on Wednesday in an interview with Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
Commenting on Gov. Paul LePage’s recently unveiled Open For Business Zones, AFL-CIO Maine Executive Director Matthew Schlobohm said, “This is the Maine Heritage Policy Center’s free Maine zones.”
LePage’s Open For Business Zones, which he announced during his State of the State address, have little in common with MHPC’s Free ME. Indeed, the only commonality seems to be a focus on stimulating economic activity within a geographic designation, without raising taxes.
But that doesn’t stop Schlobohm from making a statement even a 4th grader could tell is untrue.
The FreeME initiative calls for the elimination of sales, personal income and corporate income taxes in Maine’s poorest counties. Eventually, the plan would eliminate Maine’s income taxes statewide on a county-by-county basis.
Open For Business Zones (OFBZs), as described by the governor, provide discounted electricity rates, employment tax credits, and state-assisted access to capital to companies that invest more than $50 million in Maine and create more than 1,500 full-time jobs. The zones also have the added benefit of work place freedom, meaning workers at newly arriving companies cannot be forced to join one of Schlobohm’s labor unions or pay agency fees as a condition of their employment.
To reiterate: FreeME eliminates taxes for Maine’s poorest county; OFBZs provide benefits, including limited Right-to-Work status, for large companies that make a commitment it Maine.
Schlobohm either has trouble understanding basic matters of public policy or he is misleading the public to further his partisan aims.