House Democratic Office
August 9, 2013
Contact: Ann Kim 287-1488, cell: 233-1838
REP. SHORT: STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS KEY TO ECONOMIC GROWTH
Dems invite governor, Republicans to join in crafting comprehensive plan
Democratic state lawmakers set out this session to strengthen Maine’s economy and grow the middle class. Strategic investments in critical areas are vital to our success.
Good morning. I’m Rep. Stanley Short Jr., and I’m proud to represent Clinton, Detroit and Pittsfield. Thank you for tuning in.
Bonds in key areas like research and development and transportation infrastructure can boost our economy and create jobs.
Legislators will return to the State House next month to address a comprehensive bonding plan. Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues to send Maine voters a thoughtful and strategic plan – one that will jump start our economy, put Mainers back to work and lay the foundation for our future prosperity.
I’m a retired certified pipe welder and was active in my union at the mill. Some of the proudest moments of my career took place when we were fighting for the livelihoods of our members and the success of our company and the surrounding communities.
So it’s really painful to see that 48,000 Mainers remain unemployed today, and that some parts of our state our grappling with unemployment rates of nearly 10 percent.
When it comes to job creation and economic recovery, Maine lags behind other New England states and the nation as a whole. And a recent report by the Maine Development Foundation found that the productivity of Maine workers is among the lowest in the nation. I – and the researchers behind the report – know that Maine has a top-notch workforce. What the report does show is the need for investments in areas like infrastructure.
A safe and efficient transportation network is key to economic growth. Maine businesses – both large and small – rely on our roads and bridges to move their products across the state. Workers depend on them to get to and from their jobs.
Maine has the largest number of highway miles in New England but the lowest level of funding per mile.
Our roads earn poor grades from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group also found that a third of our bridges are structurally deficient – or functionally obsolete. Poor road conditions cost the average Maine motorist $245 a year in extra repair and operating costs.
Investment in research and development, meanwhile, is critical for long-term job growth and innovation in partnership with the private sector. Every dollar of state research and development investment returns $12 in economic benefits to the state.
Our past investments in areas like boat-building and marine research and development have made Maine a leader in these areas. Investment in areas like these will help our young people stay in Maine – or return – to build their careers.
Gov. Paul LePage missed an opportunity earlier when he refused to release voter-approved bonds in areas like transportation, higher education construction and clean water improvements. Those bonds were for projects like community and dental health clinics, roads and bridges, Maine’s working waterfront and the redevelopment of the former Brunsick Naval Air Station.
Holding these bonds hostage was a disservice to Maine people. But soon, the governor and Republicans lawmakers will have the opportunity to work with Democrats on a comprehensive and well-thought out bond plan.
We look forward to finding common ground with them for the good of our state and our people.
Thank you for listening. I’m Rep. Stanley Short Jr. of Pittsfield.
Ann Kim | Communications Director
Maine State House Majority Office
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0002