Central Maine News: February 10, 2016
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(AP) — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders are the winners of the New Hampshire primary. Trump appealed to voters seeking a political outsider. And Sanders swept majorities of men, women, independents and young people in his win over Hillary Clinton. For the Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in second. It's time to head south and west for the presidential candidates. South Carolina and Nevada are next on the list.
(AP) — A bill that would extend some state tax breaks has spawned a partisan fight in the Maine Legislature. Congress has revived several expired personal and business tax breaks. The Legislature must now decide whether to carry over those breaks to state income tax returns. If the Legislature can't agree on the issue, Maine taxpayers won't be able to claim the federal tax breaks on their 2015 state returns. Gov. LePage and Republican lawmakers say that failing to act would amount to a $38 million tax increase. The Republican-controlled Senate last week passed the so-called tax conformity bill to extend the tax breaks for two years. The Democratic-controlled House Tuesday voted to support extending the most tax breaks and allocate an additional $23 million to fund Maine schools.
(AP) -- The U.S. Department of Commerce will send $640,000 to spur job creation in rural Maine. Officials with the department say the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development in Portland will get $390,000 to support rural economic growth. The center manages the Top Gun program, which identifies potential entrepreneurs in Maine via a competitive application process. Coastal Enterprises Inc. in Wiscasset will receive $250,000 to start a rural business development program called the Natural Resource Business Seed Capital Fund. Officials say the fund will help grow farm, food, fishery and bio-based industries.
(AP) -- Gov. Paul LePage says fellow Republican Donald Trump owes him for paving the way when it comes to being outspoken. LePage, a Chris Christie supporter, joked that Trump should give him a stipend or a bonus "for starting this whole thing about being outspoken." Then the governor went on to what he does best. He referred to a couple of recent remarks saying he had to "scream at the top of my lungs about black dealers" and talk about using the guillotine on drug dealers to get the attention of lawmakers. House Democratic leader Jeff McCabe used a profane acronym on Facebook to describe the governor's State of the State letter on Monday.
(KJ) -- A proposal to beautify Western Avenue in Augusta would rely on cooperation from businesses to help spiff up the four-lane road. According to the KJ if councilors approve the idea, the city would spend about $100,000 to patch holes and put a fresh coat of green paint on the median strips dividing much of the roadway and replace trees and other public landscaping there. It also would ask businesses and other landowners who line both sides of the avenue to voluntarily play supporting roles by improving the landscaping around their businesses and make good on the landscaping plans they filed with the city’s Planning Board when they first secured approval for their business locations.