The Competitive Skills Scholarship Fund Program
Sent to Governor LePage today, by me:
This January our small business hired a part-time administrative assistant. We have not had an employee since August, 2009.
When we registered to pay unemployment taxes, I was sent a notice for THE COMPETITIVE SKILLS SCHOLARSHIP FUND PROGRAM, by the Maine Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.
I think this is an unnecessary program funded by an over-the-top and unnecessary tax. I urge you to seek to eliminate this additional burden placed on employers of all sizes in Maine. It's like a hidden tax or fee. And while it is small, per employee, it sucks approximately $3 million from the profits of Maine employers, who could use the money elsewhere in their businesses.
Here is what the annoucement I received says:
"In 2007 the 123rd Legislature passed and Governor Baldacci enacted, legislation creating a new program entitled the Competitive Skills Scholarship Fund Program (CSSF). This program has been created to address the serioius and growing skills gap betgween the exisiting skills of today's workforce and the skill needs of tomorrow's jobs. This program will provide workers with the skills they need to successfully perform in the good jobs that re being created inour economy and help businesses find the qualified workforce need to foster innovation and stay competitive in the global marketplace.
"Approximately $3 million will be collected each year for the CSSF that will then be available to assist workers earning below 200% of poverty to obtain a degree or certificate in a training program for jobs in high-growth industries. It will pay for tuition and fees that are not paid from other sources (including federal financial aid); and will fund educatioal supports for workers in training including childcare, transportation, books, supplies, equipment, and remedial and prerequisite training.
"CSSF Rate: The CSSF rate for all employers who also pay state unemployment in surance tax on employees' taxable wages up to $12,000 is:
For Rate Years 2008 and 2009...0.05% of taxable payroll or a maximum of $6.00 per worker.
For Rate Year 2010 and 2011...0.06% of taxable payroll or a maximum of $7.20 per worker."
In my view, this is theft, pure and simple, taking money from business owners (employers) and providing it to (1) a state bureacracy and (2) and some "workers," who may or may not use what the program pays for to actually get a new or better job.
Priorities: it is not the job of the state to fund educational opportunities on the backs of the state's tax paying employers.
This is yet another reason why Maine is the 50th best state in the nation in which to be an employer (per Forbes Magazine).
Thanks for your attention to this message. God bless you and your family.