Sen. Justin Alfond’s op-ed attacking Maine’s economic growth in 2011 was framed in a way that suggests that he thinks the best — perhaps the only — way to grow Maine’s economy is through taxpayer debt and government spending (Maine Voices, “Gov. LePage fails leadership test when it comes to job creation,” June 18).

By citing a small downtick in state gross domestic product but ignoring Revenue Forecasting Committee and State Planning Office reports that this was due to a loss of 2,700 government jobs at Brunswick Naval Air Station, Alfond presented an example of what’s wrong in Maine’s economy and demanded we do more of the same to fix it.

For decades, borrow-tax-and-spend policies have propped up politically connected sectors of our economy and grown government jobs at a rate Maine can’t afford. Now, as the U.S. and nations around the globe reckon with the consequences of huge debt, we witness the results: huge bailouts, runaway unemployment and crushing poverty.

From 2002 through 2010, taxpayers took on $725 million in bond debt, much of it because it would “create jobs.” In the same period, Maine created just 54 net new jobs. Alfond wants you to believe that another $20 million in debt is what Maine needs, yet since 2011, with no new debt or stimulus spending, Maine’s unemployment rate has dropped significantly and remains below the national average.

Even the Maine Technology Institute, which oversees the R&D bonds that Alfond claims are key to growing Maine’s economy, reports that the previous $53 million in bond debt that went to the institute created or preserved only about 500 jobs. Does he expect taxpayers to continue to fund this small pool of jobs forever?

Just because a politician substitutes the words “invest” and “bond” for “spend” and “debt” does not mean taxpayers should rubber-stamp their spending. Debt is not a silver bullet to fix our economy, and the results of the last eight years of massive borrowing prove it.

Jason Savage is executive director of Maine People Before Politics, founded to support conservative policies in Maine state government.