By S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire reporter
As Democratic lawmakers in the 126th Maine Legislature seek changes to Gov. Paul LePage’s health care insurance reform, known as Public Law 90, left-leaning non-profits across the state are gearing up for the fight.
The Portland-based Maine People’s Alliance (MPA), a well-known advocate of progressive causes, is leading the campaign against PL 90 through its front organization, the Maine Small Business Coalition (MSBC).
PL90, which has already driven down health insurance costs for consumers, allows more competition among insurers and more choice for consumers while keeping crucial consumer protections intact. PL90 already complies with or goes beyond the mandates of Obamacare.
MaineSmallBusiness.org describes the coalition as a grass-roots network of business owners who came together in 2008 to support President Barack Obama’s national health care reform. Since 2008, the group has continued to advocate for policies it describes as pro-small business, including more stringent environmental regulations, government-run health care and higher taxes on the wealthy.
Joel Allumbaugh, health care expert at The Maine Heritage Policy Center, produced three case studies of real Maine businesses showing that the exorbitant costs of Obamacare would result in layoffs and employers dropping health insurance coverage entirely—and could even force one company out of business. See the studies here, here and here.
MSBC does not openly advertise its affiliation with MPA, but Maine Secretary of State records show that “Maine Small Business Coalition” is an assumed business title registered to MPA—which means the group purporting to represent the interests of Maine’s small businesses is a project of liberal political operatives.
MSBC Director Kevin Simowitz confirmed on Monday that MPA is behind MSBC. But he said MPA’s partners and allies, who include national government employee unions and environmental advocacy groups, do not influence MSBC’s policy focus.
“MSBC is a project of Maine People’s Alliance, but choosing issues is done by the MSBC Steering Committee,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Maine Wire. “Oftentimes the issues overlap with MPA.”
While MSBC purports to have 3,400 members, a list of these businesses is not available online and Simowitz declined to provide one.
“It’s no surprise to learn that the Maine People’s Alliance is behind this astroturf business group,” said Maine GOP Chairman Rich Cebra. “All it takes is one look at their policy positions to see that they have no idea what Maine’s hard-working small business owners are really up against.
“If Maine lawmakers or the Maine press want to hear what Maine’s real small business owners—not a Maine People’s Alliance group—think, all they have to do is take a walk down their local Main Street and ask,” Cebra said.
What a preposterous article. “Real” small business?
Here’s a news-flash. Neither The Maine Heritage Policy Center nor Richard Cebra are the arbiters of who is qualified to organize a group of small business owners nor to delegitimize that group because its members don’t subscribe to a right-wing political philosophy.
Unitarians are a small business? Let’s revoke that tax exempt status now!!
Maine Small Business Coalition is not representative of small businesses in Maine. The fact it refuses to submit a list of small business owners should alert any reasonable person that the name is just a false public front. This reminds of an organization called “Catholics for Free Choice” run exclusively by an ex-Catholic with no Catholic membership.
Do you mean like the Better Business Bureau is a front for the radical right wing of the GOP?
Under the photo above is the following. Are these what you classify as small business in your universe?
Jennifer Rooks of MPBN conducted an interview at the office of the Maine Small Business Coalition. On the wall behind her, note the “small businesses” that are part of the coalition: Maine Equal Justice League, Unitarians, Maine Trial Lawyers, United Federation of Communications Workers, League of Women Voters and Maine Association of Interdependent Neighborhoods. See her interview here.
Joel Martin Religious groups have the right to take the political positions. The Council of Catholic Bishops takes political positions all the time. Here’s one example: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-04-17/catholic-bishops-paul-ryan-budget/54361480/1 Churches can also take positions on ballot questions. To keep their tax exempt status, they cannot endorse candidates.
Al Amoling: There’s a difference between coalition partners of a group and members of a group.
This post is really funny.
Unitarians? really? This IS a funny post…in fact I almost thought this entire article was some kind of spoof….but then I realized…this is real….wow.
get your armor jim! The unies. Are at the gate
Kinda makes sense, with the business climate in this state, doublethink businesses( In the Orwellian sesnse) are driving the agenda
“MSBC Director Kevin Simowitz confirmed on Monday that MPA is behind MSBC. But he said MPA’s partners and allies, who include national government employee unions and environmental advocacy groups, do not influence MSBC’s policy focus.” Oh? I guess that’s OK then. Kevin will surely tell us if the MSBC was an MPA sock puppet.
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