Friday, March 7, 2014
(Continued from page 1)
Last session, we took steps to improve our economy. We provided Mainers the largest tax cut in history in a bipartisan effort.
Despite rhetoric to the contrary: 70,000 working Maine families no longer pay state income tax.
Two thirds of all taxpayers are receiving tax relief, easing the burden on middle class Maine families.
The average Maine family is receiving a $300 tax decrease. A 28% reduction in their state income tax.
We also reduced taxes for Maine’s job creators. A critical step to attracting investment in Maine.
Unfortunately, there are those who would like to undo these modest reforms– despite having voted for them.
Now is not the time to rollback these monumental reforms. High taxes come at a high cost: the erosion of our state’s economic competitiveness.
President John F. Kennedy had it right: “An economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits.”
Tax cuts were not the only accomplishment of the last session.
Together, we eliminated $1.7 billion, 41% of the existing shortfall in Maine’s pension system, without cutting retiree benefits.
Maine families now have more choices when purchasing health insurance. Over 17% of Maine’s small businesses received a decrease in their rates last year.
With LD 1, we reduced red tape, and improved our permitting process for businesses.
Maine hospitals are now paid in real time for the services they provide.
Principled job creators know that my administration wants to help, and my door is always open.
You want to create a job; I want to be there to help.
However, let me be clear, I am not interested in helping those who increase the cost of living on Maine people for personal financial gain.
We passed legislation to strengthen vocational education. This will ensure that Maine students who work with their hands have more opportunities to learn valuable skills and gain good paying careers.
We passed legislation to hold teachers and principals more accountable through performance evaluations.
Unemployment is down in Maine, lower than the national average.
We are focusing our efforts on branding the State of Maine, recognizing that Maine made products embody quality and value.
Government is becoming more transparent. We exposed the wasteful use of Mainers tax dollars at agencies such as the Maine Turnpike Authority and Maine State Housing Authority.
We not only exposed it – we cleaned it up. We have more to do!
I am pleased to announce that in the coming days we will launch a new website that will enable Mainer’s to see how their precious tax dollars are spent.
We placed renewed interest in our natural resource economy. Farming, fishing and forestry continue to be top priorities for moving Maine forward.
My administration also launched a “Business Friendly Communities” initiative. The program works with our towns and cities to make them “Open for Business.” Eighteen Maine communities are now designated as business-friendly.
These reforms are a small step in making Maine a better place to live and raise our families. There is so much work left to do. Once again, Forbes ranks Maine dead last in the nation when it comes to being business friendly.
We can disagree with Forbes analysis; however, America’s job creators listen to them. Denial or sticking our heads in the sand will not change the reality.
We must put ideologies aside and get to work to make Maine a competitive and prosperous state.
I have spoken with a lot of Maine families and businesses in the past three years.
They desperately want more opportunities, better paying jobs, and a lower cost of living.
I spent most of my career in business creating jobs for hard working Mainers. I know what it takes to expand and create jobs. Maine’s cost of doing business is simply too high.
For example, Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, and Texas are attracting huge investments by companies, providing higher paying jobs for their residents, without exorbitant taxpayer subsidies.
Why shouldn’t Maine people benefit from the same economic opportunity?
Remember one simple truth: “Capital investment goes where it is welcomed – and stays where it is appreciated.”