AUGUSTA — If state elected officials are close to reaching an agreement on the state’s spending plan for the next two years, Peter McCarthy might be among the first to know.

McCarthy is the president of The Copy Center, which has contracts with the state of Maine for its printing, including the budget amendment.

On Wednesday, McCarthy said he had thought he was going to be printing that document, which would mean lawmakers had reached an agreement on the state budget; but it was a false alarm.

Now The Copy Center is just one of the businesses across the region relying on contracts from Maine state government or discretionary spending by state employees for some portion of its revenue.

That revenue will be jeopardized if state government shuts down at the end of the current fiscal year on Friday.

On Tuesday, Gov. Paul LePage said he believes state government will be shut down. As of midweek, state legislators were unable to reach an agreement on a state spending plan. Lawmakers are deadlocked over public school funding, and whether to repeal a 3 percent surcharge on household income over $200,000 imposed by a statewide vote last November to fund public education because the state has failed to make good on its promise to fund 55 percent of public education costs.

Even if lawmakers reach an accord by Friday, the governor has up to 10 days to decide whether to sign the budget into law or veto it. Initially, LePage said he would reject a budget that came in at $7 billion or higher, but he’s moved his spending ceiling to $7.05 billion. He also has said he would veto any bill that doesn’t repeal the 3 percent surcharge.

If the shutdown of non-essential state services lasts a couple of days, business owners and managers say they could weather that well enough.

Ryan Hill, general manager of Bay Wrap Augusta, said this week that even though it’s the start of the busy summer season for the restaurant he runs near the State House, he’s considering scaling back to winter staffing.

“Everyone will still get hours,” Hill said. “It’s a small staff. But rather than 30 to 35 hours, we’ll be looking at 15 to 20 hours.”

Hill, who has worked at Bay Wrap in Augusta for two years, estimated that more than half the people who come through the door every day are state workers, and most of those commute to the state capital daily.

“Being a small business this close to the State House, we get to know a lot of the state workers and legislators,” Hill said. “The biggest fear is having a week with no salary.”

Some customers are starting to scale back on what they order, choosing options that cost less.

“I have a lawyer who works for the state who comes in regularly,” he said. “She said she’s ordering a regular brew instead of a soy latte. It’s going to hurt everyone.”

But if the shutdown lasts longer, the effects they face will be more severe, they say.

Brian Olas is the sales representative for W.B. Mason, the Massachusetts-based office supply company that has an office in Augusta.

“We take care of the office supplies across all of state government,” Olas said Wednesday.

That’s everything from office furniture for state offices to janitorial supplies for restrooms at Baxter State Park. Maine state government is among W.B. Mason’s largest customers in the state.

A period of 12,000 state employees not using, needing or paying for what W.B. Mason sells could have an enormous effect on the company and its employees, Olas said. On the front lines are the company’s delivery drivers. If the hourly workers are not making deliveries, they could be redeployed to do other things, or they could be working fewer hours.

“They’ll see a huge loss,” he said.

The only saving grace to the anticipated shutdown is that it comes at a relatively slow time of year for the company. Some departments, such as the state’s prisons and parks, are stocking up on supplies ahead of next week’s Independence Day holiday. Business is expected to be slow until about August, he said.

Fourteen months ago, The Copy Center announced plans to open a larger satellite location in Augusta in the former Capitol Mini Mart and Cumberland Farms store off Memorial Circle, which had been vacant. The company’s main facility is in Winthrop, and it had a small office on Western Avenue in Augusta. The Copy Center offers design, print and mail services for customers, including contracts with state government.

McCarthy said several months ago, the state pulled the plug on its own printing shop and The Copy Shop picked up the contract for that work in addition to its other contracts.

“We didn’t have that business before, and now we do. It’s extra money coming in,” he said.

As much business as The Copy Shop does for state agencies and departments, most of the company’s business comes via the internet, with people emailing documents to be printed and then shipped out.

Even so, McCarthy said a state government shutdown that lasts longer than a few days will have consequences.

“That will be income not coming in, and we have to pay to the bills,” he said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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