While I was in Texas the last two weeks of March, a local Houston station stated that Texas was in the top 10 for business improvement outlook over the next few years, and the top three were Maine, South Dakota and North Carolina. This took me by surprise, so I started looking into why that might be.

I knew South Dakota is constantly in the top tier for being business friendly, but how did Maine get this recognition? I would imagine some of the facts I subsequently found had influence on this position:

Maine paid the $750 million owed to the state’s hospitals without raising taxes; passed the largest tax cut in Maine’s history, giving a tax cut to two-thirds of Maine’s taxpayers; and 18,000 private-sector jobs have been created since 2010, resulting in an unemployment tax rate reduction.

We have a new shipping partner with Eimskip coming to Portland Harbor and an agreement with Pan Am Railways, which will service Maine businesses wishing to ship product to Europe and into the rest of the U.S.

Unemployment is down to 5.9 percent from 7.9 percent in 2011 (this is actually due to private-sector job creation).

Maine’s governor is working to reduce the cost of government and working to reduce electrical and medical costs, which have been a deterrent to existing as well as new businesses coming to Maine. It looks like it is having some impact.

The number of good things that are happening in Maine is too long to list here, but is certainly worth looking at if you are interested in Maine’s future.

What do Maine and North Carolina have in common? Governors who have very strong business backgrounds and know how to pay the bills and keep spending down.

Jon Kirsch

Lisbon Falls