From House GOP Communications Director David Sorensen:
AUGUSTA – Maine House Republicans spoke out strongly against LD 1710, a Democrat-sponsored bill that would crush a major sector of Maine’s economy and an increasingly-prolific provider of good jobs. The measure passed its initial vote in the House, 78-63, with bipartisan opposition.
The bill would impose massive fines and grant claw-back provisions on call centers that move any operations out of the state. These investment-prohibitive measures would likely prevent any new call center jobs from coming into the state, according to the industry.
“This will kill the Maine call center industry,” Jason Levesque, owner of Argo Marketing in Lewiston, told the House Republican Office. “If you build your own defenses too strong to protect what you have, you will deny anything new from coming in.”
Levesque, the owner of one of the state’s fastest growing call centers, added that were this bill law when he was planning to open his business, he would not have located in Maine.
A few Democrats on the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee (LCRED), which heard the bill, joined with Republicans to oppose the ill-conceived measure. Sen. John Cleveland, who represents Androscoggin County, which is home to several call centers, was among them. The majority report of the committee was “Ought Not To Pass.”
Republican members of the committee spoke out strongly against the bill during floor debate in the House Chamber on Wednesday.
“We might as well put a sign on the border that says ‘Close for Business,’” said Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough), a small business owner and ranking House Republican on the labor committee.
“I urge my colleagues to vote against this silly bill,” added Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst).
“This is the same kind of misguided protectionism that has scared off jobs for decades,” added House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport after floor debate. “It’s time for a new approach to bring jobs to Maine. We’ve implemented many good reforms under Governor LePage, but there’s a long way to go and this kind of anti-jobs legislation is a major step backward.”