Radio Address: Maine is Open for Business
March 19, 2011(MP3 Audio)
Good Morning. This is Governor Paul LePage.
Everyday messages are sent to people. We talk, we email, we text and call. And when you enter into the State of Maine there?s a message we read ? ?Welcome to Maine ? The Way Life Should Be.?
That sign was put up on the side of I-95 in 1990. It was part of the winter advertising campaign theme used for Maine tourism, which sent a message to every vacationer that Maine is the place to be.
It?s true. We do have so much to offer from our beaches and mountains to our cities and rural way of life. It?s a balance that most State?s dream of and we have it all in our backyard.
But what we?re lacking is another kind of balance. A balance in the way state government treats business and Maine people.
Every month I?m travelling to towns and cities in our counties visiting business owners and entrepreneurs as part of my ?Capitol for a Day? campaign.
One of the goals of ?Capitol for a Day? is to get to the heart of the problems that businesses are struggling with today. Solutions can be found, but I need to know what to address.
There are about 45-thousand businesses in our State. More than half of those are run with less than five employees. Small businesses are the bread and butter for many hard-working families. Those families are facing tough times and making ends meet is getting more difficult by the day.
I can tell you this though, when businesses are profitable, Mainers prosper. That?s why my Administration is rolling out a number of initiatives to help small business owners.
Our biennial budget is a jobs bill for Maine?s economy. We propose some sensible reforms to our public sector retirement system that will keep monthly benefit checks flowing to retirees while cutting our overall $6.5 billion unfunded obligations in half.
Our reforms also save more than $500 million in the biennium that we use to balance the budget without mass layoffs, preserving thousands of good paying, public sector jobs.
The savings we generate through reform also allows us to return $203 million to the private sector in the form of tax cuts that can be used to invest in Maine?s economy and to save the small businesses employing on average five people.
We also set aside more than $90 million in additional state funding in the form of revenue sharing and support for local schools to help keep the pressure off property tax payers and provide resources to our schools.
Today, there is a new mentality in Augusta. We have assembled an outstanding collection of Commissioners who understand the importance of partnering with the job creators in the private sector.
The men and women leading our state agencies have my full support as they review their operations for needed reforms and make service and cooperation a key part of agency culture.
You can enforce the law and uphold strong protections for consumers and the environment while still working in good faith to find solutions for small business owners and concerned citizens.
A week ago, a Red Tape Hotline number for businesses was set up by the Department of Economic and Community Development. We encourage you to call if you need assistance in licensing, permitting or regulatory issues. The number is 624-7486.
Lawmakers are also getting involved with this movement. Senate President Kevin Raye and House Speaker Robert Nutting launched a new website to track the Legislature?s work improving Maine?s business climate.
Check out the site at www.maineisopenforbusiness.com
And next time you are returning to Maine on the interstate, look at the addition along the roadway in York. We have added an ?Open for Business,? sign to remind everyone that prosperity should also be a way of life here in Maine. A message that I hope will become the new sign of the times.
Thank you for tuning in this week and I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend.