LePage holds R&D jobs hostage while Maine ranks dead last for income growth
May 29, 2012
Augusta – Democratic state lawmakers are urging Republicans to join them in overturning Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a $20 million investment for competitive research and development (R&D) grants. Democrats said the best way to create higher wage jobs in the state was to invest in business and innovation.
“The governor is holding job creation hostage with these Tea-Party politics,” said Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono, the House Democratic leader. “Maine needs jobs and we need jobs that pay good American wages and benefits. Investment in innovation through research and development will attract those kinds of jobs to Maine.”
Maine has lost more than 1,000 jobs since 2011 and was recently rated 50th for personal income growth according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
“The Governor is turning away good-paying jobs, future innovation and economic opportunities for our state,” said Senator Justin Alfond, D-Portland, the Assistant Senate Democratic leader. “We urge our Republican colleagues to make the right choice for Maine’s economy.”
Alfond added, “The governor does not even want Maine voters to have a chance to approve this bread and butter jobs package. We are not going to create prosperity and ingenuity in Maine by just cutting state government.”
According to the legislative fiscal office’s analysis, debt service payments on bonds will decline by nearly $30 million in the next three years, lowering the state’s payments on debt and significantly increasing the capacity to borrow.
The R&D bond proposal would replenish The Maine Technology Asset Fund, which was created to field grant requests for innovation by leveraging public and private dollars.
Every $1 of state R&D investment returns $12 in economic benefits to the State, according to independent expert studies commissioned by the Maine Technology Institute. In addition, every $1 from R&D bonds leverages another $1.70 in matching funds from Maine companies and supporting organizations.
The legislature will reconvene on tomorrow to take up the vetoes.
Jodi Quintero [Cain] 287-1488, c. 841-6279
Ericka Dodge [Alfond] 287-1515, c. 232-5892