The Competitive Skills Scholarship Fund Program

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Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
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.
Dale Tudor

mainemom
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Joined: 03/09/2004 - 1:01am
Bravo, Dale

Bravo, Dale

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Thanks for bringing this to

Thanks for bringing this to LePages attention, hopefully he will act on this.

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
The Republican controlled

The Republican controlled legislature could also eliminate this law/provision. They created it in 2007, they can uncreate it in 2011. I sent a copy of the original message to my state rep, Jeffery Gifford of Lincoln (one of the good guys, in all aspects of the term "good guys").

Islander
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 12:16pm
Please keep us posted. This

Please keep us posted. This sort of like a lot of what progressives do, it is just pennies, the companies are so big they will never miss it. Ask Poland Springs, or look at your phone bill to see the little surcharges (tax).

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
One tax/fee at a time. The

One tax/fee at a time. The phone bill fees/taxes are worthy of their own thread, truly. We have six different phone lines between cell phones, home and business hard lines. We easily pay $20.00/month in non-essential addtional small fees and taxes per month, probably more.

Regarding the "Scholarship Fund," it would enhance the start of the removal process if one or more AMGers could copy and paste the story in the first post on this thread in a personal email to your own state representative or state senator or both. If two or three or four or more state legislators put this on their own personal docket for change, it would have a better of chance of seeng the light of day. If you are an employer, large or small, you are paying this fee/tax for every employee on your payroll. Who could better put that $7.20 you are sending to the state - you or the State of Maine? I'm thinking you.

My state senator is Elizabeth Schneider of Orono (D). I have not sent this to her, but (following my own advice) I will. She is an uber-liberal in my view, so my expectations are not very high that she will take this concept under her wing and seek to eliminate the tax/fee and elminate the program altogether. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, though, I'll put the idea forward to her. If or when I get a response, I'll update this thread.

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
As I said I would do, I sent

As I said I would do, I sent a copy of the email to Gov. LePage to Senator Schneider (D), Orono. Here is her reply, word for word:

Dale,
Thank you for your note. Citizens in Maine and across our nation have fallen behind acquiring the skills needed for many of the jobs in our world today. It is a state and national security issue. This program is just one small way to help move people in the direction of being in a position to qualify for jobs when they are unemployed. I support programs to get people working again.

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
My response to Senator's

My response to Senator's reply:

Senator Schneider,

Explain to me, if you would, please, how this is a state and national security issue. At face value, that statement makes no sense.

And why do you think that raising $3,000,000 or more, per year, in taxes (fees) on the backs of Maine's employers benefits the ability of Maine's employers to succeed in their businesses in the state of Maine? Maine businesses are hard pressed to succeed in Maine as it is. Why do we need yet another tax burden that further curtails our ability to make a profit? It is only through the ability to make a profit that any Maine business has the sustainable financial ability to hire another employee. This tax (fee) makes that financial ability more difficult.

Any person in Maine who seeks to further his/her education and/or job skill development via our post high school educational system has a myriad of financial sources available to fund said educational desire. Various grants, loans and scholarships are available through multiple venues at every institute of higher education throughout the state. And all of this is available without further burdening Maine businesses with this unnecessary tax (fee).

Please reverse your view on this tax (fee) and introduce and support legislation to have this law repealed.

I look forward to your response and affirmative action on this request. Thanks. God bless you and your family. Dale

FLAMMENWERFER
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Joined: 03/27/2005 - 1:01am
"...to help move people in

"...to help move people in the direction of being in a position to..."

Such clumsy, mushy phrasing is a pretty reliable sign of mushy thinking, but the ambition to "move people" in "directions" reveals something significant about politicians like Schneider. She, and her like, are equally confident that she knows where people should be moved to, and that they don't/can't know where to move to.

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
Any one in addition to me up

Any one in addition to me up to emailing their state rep or state senator or the gov regarding this unnecessary consfication of every Maine employers money? I encourage copy and paste, and you are welcome to use my words, if you so choose. Thanks.

matt8888
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Joined: 10/14/2007 - 10:09am
Citizens in Maine and across

Citizens in Maine and across our nation have fallen behind acquiring the skills needed for many of the jobs in our world today.

Many people in Maine acquire skills needed for today's jobs. Then they leave Maine. LOL.

Mainelion
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Joined: 08/11/2005 - 12:01am
Some of our college graduates

Some of our college graduates do stay here. We pay off their college loans for them with tax credits through Oportunity Maine. I suspect that in a few more years we'll have, without a doubt, the best educated barristas in the country.

Dale Tudor
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Joined: 10/23/2010 - 12:57pm
Senator Schneider recently

Senator Schneider recently answered my last message to her. She addressed only part of my message, this part:
"Senator Schneider,
Explain to me, if you would, please, how this is a state and national security issue. At face value, that statement makes no sense.
If we do not have a workforce to do jobs that we need to fill our security is in peril."
Her complete response:
"We have imported people into the USA for decades to do work in the STEM fields STEM=Science Technology Engineering and Math. This is not a good idea but the fact is we do not have enough people who have the skills necessary to do the work. Many of the employers in Maine raise this as a major problem. Employers in ME benefit because as the skill sets change, with education people/employees will be more able to meet the demands of the businesses."

My reply to her:
"Your reply makes no sense. Anyone in Maine who wants to further his/her education may do so via financial aid/scholarships/grants/loans/use of personal finances. When I was in college (two degrees from UMO, BA and Masters) I worked through every year of school, took out loans for my undergraduate work, worked full time summers, etc. In grad school I worked 20-30 hrs per week, plus went to school full time and worked full time in the summer.

Prove, if you would, why this tax is needed. Prove, if you will, why people who want to further their education are unable to do so without these funds. Prove, if you will, how this specific program focuses its financial aid to students seeking more training that fits into the STEM profile you mentioned. I am of the view that you will be unable to do so. If that is the case, you should promptly reconsider your opinion, revisit this subject, and, most likely, change your mind and actively encourage the repeal of this law and the program it supports.

Reducing the tax burden on Maine employers increases the opportunity for more profit to these employers. More profit opportunities creates a business climate for business expansion, for more hires, for more jobs. This program is a burden, not a benefit, to Maine employers, and creates no new avenues for job focused education. There are plenty of other alternatives for anyone in Maine seeking to further their education.

Will you please introduce a bill to eliminate this unnecessary program? Thank you. God bless you and your family. Dale Tudor"

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