TARGETED INVESTMENT WILL SPRINGBOARD MAINE TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Good Morning. This is State Senator Phil Bartlett of Gorham.
Maine, much like the rest of the country, is at a crossroads. We are at a make or break moment for many middle class Mainers and those working to make ends meet. We are at a critical point where we can make targeted investments to improve our economy; and, we can promote policies that empower individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses to create jobs. Or, we can adopt an approach that picks winners and losers and goes against our values and traditions.
Unfortunately, the tone in Augusta, under GOP leadership, has turned in to one that, at nearly every opportunity pits Mainer against Mainer. It ignores the balanced approach that is necessary for businesses to succeed and workers to prosper on the job and at home.
As the President promotes economic strategies for an America built to last, Maine lawmakers must also promote strong, proactive economic policies with benchmarks for creating jobs for today while implementing long-term strategies for the jobs of our future. Maine cannot afford to let the recovery pass us by.
Maine lawmakers have a sure-fire way to do something now that will get people back to work immediately and develop good paying jobs for our future. The state’s Appropriations committee has put forth a jobs bond proposal for our state. A real jobs package is exactly what Maine needs to give our economy a much-needed shot in the arm.
Maine voters have a history of supporting public investments in our roads and bridges, bolstering our state’s educational infrastructure, and prioritizing Research and Development so that we attract and build the industries of the 21st century while giving our workers the skills needed to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
The Governor has said he will block a jobs package unless he gets exactly what he wants from the Legislature with the 2013 budget. This “my way or no highway” approach puts politics ahead of the best interests of Maine workers and families. He should not hold jobs and bonds hostage for his extreme ideological demands.
The time is right—with Maine’s strong track record of conservative borrowing and paying down debt quickly, we can afford a responsible jobs package, and we should not delay.
In the last year, Mainers have seen a continued drain on our jobs and our income. Maine has lost more than 1,000 jobs since 2011. The Association of General Contractors has said that the state lost 500 construction jobs from February to March, this year alone. If we don’t make public investments now, we will be missing an opportunity to create jobs and improve our economy.
As we continue to climb out of these challenging economic times, we must ask ourselves: what can we do to build the foundation for our economic recovery and strengthen our economy for the future?
We know that we cannot build a strong economy if the foundation is weak, or worse, crumbling. Through targeted investments in roads and bridges and research and development we are giving our state, and its workers, the tools needed to springboard to a brighter future. These investments are a strong catalyst for growth.
Think about your own home. If there’s a crack in the foundation and investing in its repair is ignored, your house will eventually crumble.
We must position our state, our economy, our financial house in a strong and viable way. If the governor turns his back on investment in our workers, in our roads, bridges, and our educational facilities, then he’s weakening our foundation and eventually our economy will crumble.
We need lawmakers and a chief executive to stand up strong and send a signal to the rest of the nation: Maine is ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Maine is a great place to live, work, play—and invest.
Governor, stop the divisive rhetoric and help us rebuild our state.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Phil Bartlett. Enjoy your weekend.