Mainers deeply concerned about pandemic’s impact on small businesses, children, and the economy
Augusta, ME: New polling commissioned by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) shows Mainers’ strong support for legislative priorities that address the struggles working families face that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, overall, Mainers are most concerned about the effect it is having on small businesses (76%), the impact on school-aged children (72%), and the effect on the economy of Maine (68%). Mainers show consistent and strong support for state investment in struggling areas, even if it means some Mainers will have to pay more in taxes. When asked to choose between Maine investing more resources in struggling families, businesses, schools, and health care systems and Maine finding a way to live within its means, nearly three in five Mainers (59%) chose to invest more resources while just 15% said live within its means.
“The pandemic exacerbated the challenges that Mainers already had in accessing quality affordable health care and childcare. The pandemic also highlighted the need for reliable high-speed broadband for all Mainers to be able to work and attend school. Equitable access is a part of our recovery,” said Danna Hayes, SiX Maine State Director.
Overall, the cost of prescription drugs and health care are two of the largest concerns Mainers have, and health care-focused legislation is among the most popular. Across the state, residents are very concerned about the cost of prescription drugs (59%) and access to quality and affordable health care (58%). Policy solutions addressing these concerns were some of the most popular tested, including bills making prescription drugs more affordable, increasing transparency in drug pricing, and increasing transparency on health care costs. Each policy received strong support by at least three in four Mainers.
Mainers are also strongly supportive of policies focused on expanding access to quality, affordable childcare as at least three in five Mainers strongly agree that high-quality childcare helps ensure children are ready for school. Over two-thirds of Mainers (69%) also strongly agreed that in order to get everyone back to work and get Maine’s economy fully running, parents need access to quality and affordable childcare.
Mainers also strongly support policies to expand affordable broadband access. That includes bills making sure affordable high-speed internet doesn’t get priced out of reach for Mainers and small businesses and not allowing providers to increase costs without a justification or corresponding increase in quality and reliability. Each policy received strong support by at least three in four Mainers.