September 28, 2013

Forbes ranks Maine worst state for business for fourth year

Gov. LePage, Democrats trade blame over Maine's poor showing.

Staff report

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LePage said his administration has been working to improve the business climate by reducing taxes, energy costs and red tape, but more must be done.

"This is just a start -- it will take more than two-and-a-half years to reverse 40 years of economic damage inflicted by liberal politicians," he said.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said the Forbes ranking shows that top-ranked states are those that have adopted government-backed reforms such as pro-business regulatory environments and lower tax rates.

"It's certainly frustrating to seem stuck in last place, but it reminds us of how far we have to go on the road to reform," Fredette said.

House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, focused the blame on the governor.

"It's no surprise to see Forbes confirm what every Mainer already knows: Governor LePage has been bad for Maine's economy, bad for our middle class, and bad for our small businesses," Eves said in his statement. "Maine families are struggling to make ends meet, while he puts up road blocks to health care, energy and investment to move our state forward."

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, said in a written statement that he's not surprised by the ranking, given the governor's negativity about the state.

"For three years, the Governor has been telling the world what a terrible place Maine is," he said. "Just like a CEO signals confidence or anxiety about the strength and direction of a company, the governor signals to the rest of the country whether or not Maine is a good place to live, work, invest, and play."

The top-ranked states, after Virginia, are North Dakota, Utah, North Carolina and Colorado.

The five bottom-ranked states, from 46th to 50th, are West Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Maine.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

ggraham@pressherald.com

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