Good Morning. This is State Senator Seth Goodall of Richmond.
There is no doubt about it, Maine can do better. In fact, we must do better.
For far too long, too many people are working harder for less. Too many parents have lost hope that their kids will not have the same opportunity that they had. And too many seniors are spending down their hard earned retirement dollars.
As the national economy shows signs of growth, so, too should Maine’s. We live in a great state and we have what is needed to prosper. Bar-none, the Maine work-ethic is one of the best. We have an environment that many entrepreneurs find exciting. And because of our natural resources and the Maine way of life, people want to live and work in places like Maine.
However, we are not seeing signs of growth. Recent economic data paints a very sobering picture for our state’s current economy, placing us 45th in the country in job creation during the Governor’s tenure. Since 2011, more than 1,300 jobs have been lost. Americans in every other state are seeing their income grow—yet, Maine ranks dead last. And, among our New England neighbors, Maine was the only state whose economy shrunk.
Meanwhile, real job opportunities have passed us by. Although the Governor may be talking about jobs, hanging “Open for Business” signs, and certifying Maine towns as “Business Friendly,” he has stopped job creation efforts in its tracks. His veto of the R&D bond and his most recent refusal to release more than $40 million dollars in voter-authorized investments—investments that would create 1,400 new jobs right now—is counterproductive, it’s against the voter’s will, and it hurts our economy. Instead of seizing opportunities, he’s stifling opportunities.
With more than 52,000 Mainers out of work, we cannot afford to turn away opportunity—opportunities that can put people back to work immediately and put real dollars back into our economy. When people go back to work, our whole economy thrives.
Rebuilding our economy from yesteryears is no easy task. We know we need to create jobs today and foster opportunities for more businesses to grow. We must be focused on today and tomorrow. On a plan that allows us to grow and build upon today’s common sense investments. One that is based on the industries of the future and the jobs we have yet to imagine. One that will make Maine a magnet for innovators and entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the Governor’s recent choices do none of this.
Surely, we will, and we must, continue talking about job creation and economic development. But, we must move past the talk and ask ourselves what are we actually doing to create an economy where we can pay our bills, own a house, save a buck or two for retirement, and help our kids afford to go to college—a place where people want to invest, not just live.
Too often we hear of what “has been” rather than what “can be”.If Maine doesn’t get on board with what “can be”—we will continue to fall farther behind. We need leaders who are going to shepard us from our past in to our future—and this takes more than just rhetoric and signs and certificates. It is time to look beyond the window dressing of the Governor’s choices and ask what is he really doing to seize opportunity to grow our economy.
I am a person of optimism, a person of belief that we can transform this state and move forward. We must do so grounded in the realities of today but with an eye for our future. An eye focused on innovation, creating jobs that will rebuild our towns and state and provide the paycheck that allows our families to flourish.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Seth Goodall. Have a great weekend.