Friday, March 7, 2014
By GEORGE GERVAIS
Creating a robust economy is the No. 1 priority of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and the entire LePage administration.
Quite simply, our goal is to make Maine as competitive as possible for new investment and private-sector job growth. In a recent op-ed ("Maine Voices: Overall economy benefits when workers have opportunity to organize," Aug. 31), Rep. Andrew Mason criticized the governor for cutting taxes; vetoing a bill to dramatically increase Maine's minimum wage; and vetoing a bill that would have dramatically increased the cost of workers' compensation insurance. I assure you, if it were not for the governor's veto pen, Maine businesses would have been placed in serious economic distress.
It would have meant fewer opportunities for Maine to secure new investment and fewer opportunities for Maine people to land jobs and prosper. The LePage administration supports a pro-worker agenda.
We don't want Mainers to scrape by on minimum wages; we want them to earn livable wages that provide rewarding lives for their families. State government must move at the speed of business to provide the right environment for this kind of economic success.
Clinging to the failed, job-killing policies of the past will not build an infrastructure for a strong economy.
Maine is more attractive for private investment today than it was just a few years ago. Eliminating unnecessary regulations and bureaucratic red tape, getting our fiscal house in order, reducing energy costs and instituting a more business-friendly approach across all of state government is clearly paying off. Consider the most recent announcements of jobs and investment: Barclaycard, 200 new jobs in Wilton; Irving Forest Products, 60 new jobs in Nashville Plantation; Ameridial, 90 new jobs in Fort Kent; and Tempus Jets, 50 new jobs in Brunswick.
Today, there are 8,000 more people working in Maine's private sector than in 2010. Let's continue making Maine as competitive as possible, and let's stay open for business!
George Gervais is commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.