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Governor Recognized by State Chamber of Commerce

October 27, 2009

SOUTH PORTLAND – Governor John E. Baldacci spoke this evening at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. He thanked the members for being valuable partners working to improve Maine’s business climate and grow good-paying, private sector jobs. The Governor was presented with a plaque from the Chamber recognizing his efforts to improve Maine’s economy.

“The global economic crisis has brought out the best in Maine people,” said the Governor. “We have been weathering the storm, making hard budget choices. We’ve had to work more efficiently, this session passing a two-year State budget that is $500 million less than its predecessor. We know there are still tough decisions to be made as we continue the hard work of bringing spending in line with resources. All the while, we need to continue to build a solid foundation for future economic and job growth.”

The Governor reiterated his promise to approach the budget shortfall without raising broad based taxes. He also said that the State must ensure that we have the workforce needs to compete globally.

“That’s why Question 3 on school administration reform is so important,” said the Governor. “I appreciate the recognition by Maine’s business community that the future of our workforce is at stake. Our children deserve the best education. Going backward now would put in jeopardy the progress we have made to put resources back into the classrooms.”

Governor Baldacci said that the State has been working to build partnerships with the business community because he recognizes that government cannot be the answer to all problems.

“Public-private partnerships are the key to revitalizing our economy and creating jobs,” said the Governor. The Governor provided the Advanced Structures & Composites Center at the University of Maine as an example of such partnerships that are yielding economic growth and job creation.

“With previous jobs bond financing, Maine people put significant resources behind critical composites research being conducted at the University of Maine,” said the Governor. “The composites technology developed at the Center has helped our boat building industry compete globally. In partnership with the private sector, the Composite Center boasts nearly 300 product development and testing projects in the past five years. But this wouldn’t have happened without significant support in the private sector.”

Governor Baldacci outlined other actions taken recently to positively impact the State’s business climate:

o Reducing unemployment taxes; o Expanding Pine Tree Zones, enabling more existing Maine businesses tax benefits for their expansions; o Lowering the State’s top income tax rate from 8.5 to 6.5 percent for people making less than $250,000 a year; o Investing in areas that will result in future returns for businesses through R&D, quality places and transportation bonds; o Providing for funds for industry cluster development through the Maine Technology Institute; o Repealing the Business Equipment Property Tax Reimbursement so that new investments in business equipment will not be taxed – this helps our businesses to expand and hire new employees; and o Working on a budget that controls spending while making crucial investments to create sustainable, private sector jobs.

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