Governor LePage: Maine’s Growth in Personal Earnings is a Sign of Improving Economy

June 25, 2014

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage issued a statement today about Maine’s personal income growth, which shows net earnings growing .8% in the first quarter of 2014—higher than the national growth in net earnings.

“While the Obama administration and other states use the increase of welfare payments as a measure of personal income growth, my administration has reduced welfare and added real jobs,” said Governor LePage.

“Since I took office, 18,000 private-sector jobs have been created, Maine’s unemployment rate has stayed below the national average, and it is now the lowest since 2008. We have fewer government jobs, fewer people on welfare, and we have stopped the growth of Medicaid.”

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) claims the other five New England states saw higher personal income growth than Maine, but that growth was driven by an increase in welfare benefits, especially in the form of Medicaid expansion. The BEA conceals welfare benefits by calling them “Personal Current Transfer Receipts.”

These “Transfer Receipts” include: Social Security benefits; Medicare payments; Medicaid; and state unemployment insurance benefits.

In addition to counting welfare benefits as personal income, the BEA includes another category called “all other personal current transfer receipts.” These are the health insurance premium subsidies paid as tax credits to enrollees of the Obamacare exchanges.

“It doesn’t matter what liberals call these payments, it is welfare, pure and simple,” said Governor LePage. “Liberals from the White House all the way down to Democratic leadership in Augusta believe that redistribution of wealth—taking money from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to a growing number of welfare recipients—is personal income. It’s not. It’s just more welfare expansion. Democrats can obfuscate the numbers any way they want. The fact is that we have created thousands of jobs, more Mainers are working, and their income is going up.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released preliminary estimates of state personal income for the first quarter of 2014, along with revised estimates for all four quarters of 2013. Total personal income for Maine grew 0.5% in the first quarter of 2014, with net earnings – the largest component of personal income – growing 0.8%.

The largest contributors to Maine’s increase in earnings were in the construction industry and the manufacturing of nondurable goods, with growth of $96 million and $60 million. “These are real jobs with real incomes, not welfare handouts,” said Governor LePage.

Maine’s growth in net earnings was in line with the other New England states, which ranged from 0.8% to 1.0% growth. Net earnings growth in Maine was actually higher than for the U.S., which saw growth of 0.7%.

“Maine’s personal income growth is being driven by growth in earnings, an indication that the economy continues to see real improvement as a larger share of Mainers find employment,” according to Maine State Economist Amanda Rector.

The release from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is available at: http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/spi/2014/pdf/spi0614.pdf