Wednesday February 16, 2011 | 03:22 PM

Retraining workers for new jobs, putting money into “clean energy,” and cutting employer payroll taxes.

Those are all ingredients in a seven-point economic prescription offered up today by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
 
Collins is one of a number of senators who have issued “jobs plans” this year, with the still volatile and struggling economy front and center for President Obama and lawmakers in Congress.
 
Collins’ plan has its Maine specific components, such as including her drive to gain an exemption for Maine allowing trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds on to all of the state’s interstates. A pilot program she sponsored granting that exemption expired in December, forcing trucks between 80,000 and 100,000 pounds off all the Maine interstates except for the Maine turnpike and down side roads such as Route 202/9 through China, where they pass school bus stops and many intersections.
 
Some of what Collins wants to do also is part of the plans offered by some other lawmakers. For instance, Collins wants to reduce employers’ portion of the payroll tax by two percent on the first $50,000 of payroll, variations of which can be found in others’ plans, as well. That would go along with the one-year two percent payroll reduction approved last year as part of a broader tax and jobs package.
 
It is likely individual plans will wind up melded into a single bill – if the Senate can agree on one.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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