Policy Insights Conference 2023
Our virtual conference brought people together for a deep dive into how corporate consolidation impacts Maine’s families, communities, and economy.
MECEP Policy Insights Conference: Challenging Corporate Power
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
MECEP’s 2023 Policy Insights Conference covered:
- Impacts of corporate consolidation on workers, small businesses, rising costs, and racial equity
- Tactics used by corporations to exploit loopholes
- Examining effectiveness of tax giveaways to corporations
- Policy solutions to help Maine level the playing field
Imagine Maine as a place where workers have boosted wages; students have great schools, tuition support, and relief from debt; unemployment programs are stronger; and everyone has a roof over their heads and aid for electricity and heating fuel. When Maine people have a strong voice in the state of our economy, we make progress on those goals. But the power of corporations too often drowns out the rest of us and makes progress harder — or even brings it backwards.
Corporate consolidation and the building of monopolies have hurt the people who work in those businesses and the communities in which they operate and has played a role in increasing inflation in recent years. At the same time, taking advantage of tax loopholes, many corporations rake in record profits, keeping prices high while refusing to contribute what they owe to the schools, roads, and community services all of us rely on. Building power for workers, tackling corporate consolidation, and closing loopholes will provide resources to help workers, families, and small businesses thrive; build a stronger, more inclusive economy that works for all Mainers; and uphold democracy by preventing political power from being stacked in favor of those with wealth.
Stacy Mitchell is a MECEP board member and Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a research and advocacy organization that challenges concentrated corporate power and works to build thriving, equitable communities. Stacy has produced pivotal research and reporting on the policies driving the decline of small businesses and the economic and political consequences of monopoly power. And as a strategist and advocate, she has helped build coalitions and win campaigns for policies that level the playing field for independent businesses, curb corporate power, and strengthen communities.
Larry Gardner was born and raised in West Virginia. He attended West Virginia University before enlisting in the Marine Corps. After serving four years, Larry went to work for the nation’s largest mass appraisal firm, the Cole-Layer-Trumble Company (C-L-T), appraising all types of real estate and learning taxation and assessment law. He then managed municipal revaluation projects for C-L-T in coastal towns of Camden, Rockport, Boothbay, and Bar Harbor before settling in Ellsworth, Maine. He worked his first Assessor job in Southwest Harbor for 7 years, Bar Harbor for 3 years, and currently works in Ellsworth as the City Assessor, where he has served for 23 years.
Matt Gardner is a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). He previously served as ITEP’s executive director. Matt’s work focuses on federal, state and local tax systems, with a particular emphasis on the impact of tax policies on low- and moderate-income taxpayers. He uses ITEP’s microsimulation model to produce economic projections and analyses on the effects of current and proposed federal and state tax and budget policies. Matt is a noted corporate tax expert and the primary author of ITEP’s regular corporate studies on the tax habits of Fortune 500 corporations as well as publications on international corporate tax avoidance.
Kasia Tarczynska joined Good Jobs First with experience in community development and community organizing around immigrant and low-wage worker rights. She also provided research support to non-profit community organizations in Chicago. At Good Jobs First, she performs various research on transparency and accountability of state and local economic development practices and programs, provides technical assistance to partner organizations, elected officials and journalists, manages the Subsidy Tracker and Amazon Tracker databases, supports the organization’s social media presence, and runs the summer intern program.