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Janet Mills Looks For Ways To Extend Tax Breaks To Paycheck Protection Program Loans

Mark Vogelzang
Maine Public file
Gov. Janet Mills on Maine Calling on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

Gov. Janet Mills has instructed her administration to see if there are federal funds that could be used to pay for state tax breaks on forgivable loans to Maine businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The business community strongly opposed the language in the governor’s proposed supplemental budget that only exempted the income on forgiven loans from state income tax. Mills has now directed Maine Revenue Services to review the estimated cost of also allowing those businesses to claim the money spent as a business expense, as they can under federal tax law.

“We believe we can solve the problem without shaking everything else up. I think small businesses deserve this combination, deserve our full support,” Mills says.

She says she has asked for a review of the data that was used to come up with the $100 million price tag of allowing the tax breaks.

“We have got tax returns that may be due from all sorts of entities, LLCs, sole proprietorships, S-Corps and large and small corporations and its really difficult to estimate this kind of fiscal note so they took national data,” Mills says.

She also has ordered agencies to see if there are any unused federal funds that could be reallocated, and says she hopes Congress will provide new funding to the states that could be used to pay for the double benefit.

“We think there will be additional help from the federal government and we are looking, leaving no stone unturned, in finding any possible federal benefit that could be applied to solving this problem,” Mills says.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.