Hayes for Maine | Independent for Governor

Economy

Making Maine the best place to work in America begins with innovative and collaborative leadership.

LET’S MAKE MAINE THE BEST PLACE IN THE COUNTRY TO WORK

Maine is blessed with scenic beauty and abundant assets upon which to build a robust economy: natural resources, fertile agricultural acreage, abundant supplies of freshwater, and bountiful coastal and offshore waters; a pristine environment and places of unrivalled natural beauty that invite visitors from around the world. And we have welcoming communities where hard-working, skilled, resilient, and innovative people want to live.

Our challenge is to marshal those resources – our competitive advantages – and leverage them into new jobs and a growing economy that can sustain Maine’s future. That requires leadership and vision from a Governor who will be Maine’s champion and chief ambassador, and who has the experience to manage state resources in partnership with the private sector to pursue new opportunities.

Making Maine the best place to work in America begins with innovative and collaborative leadership.

GROWING OUR ECONOMY STARTS WITH A LONG-RANGE STRATEGIC PLAN

Maine needs a focused, clear, data-driven, statewide, long-range strategic plan for economic development. Prosperity will not happen by accident. Our state must become a reliable partner in pursuit of economic development opportunities for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and potential employees, including those already here in Maine, as well as across the country and around the world.

A good first step will be to embrace the recently released "Making Maine Work" report, which was developed through a collaboration between the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Development Foundation, and EducateMaine.

The Hayes Administration will also work with the Legislature to support the Maine Economic Growth Council and other key stakeholders to develop a non-partisan long-range economic development plan that has buy-in from business leaders, regional and local economic development professionals, and most importantly, from Maine people.

If Maine is to be both a great place to live and a great place to make a living, we need a strategy and a plan to make it so. The state’s long-range plan will:

  • Build on our assets and strengths and avoid fragmented and scattershot strategies that ignore the impact on our natural resources and rural character.
  • Take into account regional challenges and opportunities, recognizing that not all places in Maine will benefit from the same strategies.
  • Focus our university system’s research, innovation, and workforce and economic development efforts.
  • Align the state’s tax code with our twenty first century economy so that individuals, families, and businesses contribute fairly and benefit proportionally.
  • Allow our towns, cities, schools, and local and regional development agencies to work within their communities knowing where they fit into the overall state strategy and to plan proactively and for the long term.
  • Complement and coordinate with the efforts of Maine businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Be a cohesive and consistent vision, with measurable long-term goals and priorities, to optimize return on public investments, guide resource allocation, and ensure that our policy priorities move us toward the agreed upon goals.

GROWING A SKILLED AND PRODUCTIVE WORKFORCE

The lead constraint to economic growth in Maine is our demographics. More than any tax breaks, loan programs or other incentives, a plentiful supply of skilled and productive workers will keep businesses here and draw new businesses to Maine. It is in our shared interest for state government to play a leadership role in matching our education and lifelong training resources with the needs of our businesses.

The Hayes administration will work with the Legislature to establish an Office of Workforce Development, which will be charged with increasing industry and education partnerships, working collaboratively with Maine businesses to pursue the fastest, most effective path to align education with pressing workforce needs, and upgrading the skills of Maine’s workforce at a scale commensurate with the growing needs of a global, innovative and knowledge-based economy.

Under Terry’s leadership, Maine will also join the Skillful State Network, a group of twenty founding states committed to the transformation of workforce development by open sharing of best practices and sharing of ideas and results.

CLOSE THE SKILLS GAP WITH WORKFORCE TRAINING

The need to invest in our human talent has never been more pressing. Just as the shuttered paper mill in Bucksport is being reimagined as a salmon farm, we must find new ways to prepare Mainers for multiple job and career changes throughout their lifetimes.

Many good jobs in Maine remain hard to fill because demand outstrips the specialized training required. While not requiring a four-year college degree, these hard-to-fill jobs often require certification. Such jobs range from healthcare record coders to bioinformatics specialists and project managers. They pay good salaries, but they require training that needs to be affordable and available to working adults.

A top priority of the Hayes Administration will be to elevate the skills of our existing workforce, to retrain displaced workers, and to take advantage of the skills of new legal immigrants. Maine needs a vehicle that connects stakeholders to close the skills gap by identifying workforce needs and engaging the future workforce to develop Maine’s talent.

Our challenge is to marshal Maine’s talented citizens, in partnership with our public schools, universities and community colleges and Maine’s employers, to sustain Maine’s future. We will match our education and training resources with the needs of Maine’s employers so they can grow and prosper and ensure that educational and training resources create opportunities for career advancement.

INVEST IN YOUNG PEOPLE WHO INVEST IN MAINE

With targeted incentives, our young people won’t feel the need to leave Maine to be successful. And, for those who need some encouragement to move here, once they’re here, have put down roots and experience life in Maine, they won’t want to leave. For example, by building on and simplifying the Education Opportunity Tax Credit, coordinating with the Maine State Housing Authority to take advantage of ample, low-cost, and high-quality housing stock in rural parts of the state, working with our preschool community and public schools to providing voluntary high-quality preschool for younger children, we can keep our children and grandchildren here, attract talent and reward investment in our communities.

PROMOTE OUR INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Our public and private institutions of higher learning are destinations for students from around the world. The University of Maine has seen continued growth in out-of-state enrollment (up 36 percent in the past five years to now nearly 6,000 students), Bowdoin College boasts nearly 10% of the student body either carries an international passport or hails from outside of the United States and 62% from outside of New England, and Thomas College hosts students from 21 states and 8 countries.

To encourage these students “from away” to stay in Maine after college, we can leverage the efforts of employers like Idexx and WEX and those in the hospitality sector through a “one-stop shopping system” to offer summer jobs and internship opportunities with possible incentives, in the form of tuition reimbursement or course credit.

BOOST WORKER PARTICIPATION

We need to tap all Mainers to participate in the workforce, including those with disabilities, veterans, individuals who have been incarcerated or have experienced a substance abuse disorder and disengaged youths. We need to work with non-profit agencies, community-based programs, our jails, and employers to implement innovative training and support strategies.

LEVERAGE OUR GROWING RETIREE POPULATION

We can take advantage of the skills that semi-retirees bring to the table. We could solve some of our most pressing needs in rural areas for physicians and nurses by encouraging those close to retirement to take advantage of the quality of life available in rural Maine.

To make this a reality, Terry will lead the effort to encourage physicians and other providers approaching retirement - especially those qualified to provide the types of patient services that are critical to the survival of community hospitals such as obstetrical and neonatal care - to resettle in our vibrant, low cost, low crime, rural communities with top flight healthcare that typify our Leapfrog Hospital communities (six Maine hospitals received "A" grades in the spring 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades including Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth and The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle).

WELCOME LEGAL IMMIGRANTS

We will welcome new Mainers and reduce the barriers to their entry into the workforce. There are over 1,000 unemployed foreign-born individuals living in Maine, many with college degrees and technical qualifications. We can make it easier to convert credentials from their country of origin and we can provide language assistance in the workplace to eliminate the challenges that compel talented workers to take a job below their capacity to contribute.

We owe it to ourselves to welcome newcomers and develop a comprehensive strategy to integrate them into our communities. We will work with our towns and cities to adopt a proactive strategy to build a community environment, learning from what’s already working to welcome and support both existing legal immigrant populations and those who choose to relocate to the area.

PROMOTE MAINE’S BRAND

Terry will be the state's best salesperson and ambassador. Maine needs a governor who will champion Maine’s attributes as a beautiful, friendly and safe place to live, and Terry will be that governor.

Maine’s image as beautiful and safe is a marketer’s dream. Maine boasts some of the most stunning landscapes, coastline and natural wonders in the world - and we while we are committed to protecting it, we can also prosper from its many unique qualities. We should aggressively build and promote a single unified Maine brand and strategically seek markets for products that are authentically and indisputably Maine-made, grown or produced.

GROW DEMAND FOR MAINE PRODUCTS

In a world where products that are sustainably grown with traceable origins are increasingly prized, the products of Maine’s farms, forests, and wood fiber producers and processors can command premium prices and retain value for the growers and the processors. As governor, Terry will work with businesses and farms to strategically seek markets – a worldwide audience including domestic consumers – for food, fiber and other products that are authentically and indisputably Maine-made, grown, or produced. Last year, Maine International Trade Center (MITC) reported that 2,262 Maine companies exported $2.7 billion in goods and services to 176 countries. Trade supports 180,500 (nearly one in four) Maine jobs. Let’s build on this effort.

BE STRATEGIC AND SMART ABOUT REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES

Well-run businesses and other states have capital budgeting processes and have adopted consistent borrowing guidelines; so should the State of Maine. This will make it more likely that the decisions on infrastructure investments are less political and more strategic and it will ensure that selected projects are ones that will yield the most return over a period of time. It will also mean that general obligation bond authorizations sent out for voter approval will align with smart and affordable borrowing. Capital budgeting will allow us to rank our transportation and communications infrastructure projects in terms of financial reward, social benefits, and environmental impact.

BUILD A THRIVING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT BASE

We will invest in Maine people and communities in ways that enable businesses to compete nationally and internationally. Improving Maine’s relatively low level of productivity is critical to this effort. States across the nation are prioritizing research and development (R&D) and Maine lost ground by virtue of its episodic and weak commitment to R&D. To close this gap and reach 3 percent of GDP, our R&D investments need to outpace those of the national average. To improve our economy, a Hayes Administration will commit to a steady and sustainable stream of public and private investment.

SHOW APPRECIATION FOR MAINE BUSINESSES

Communicate with existing Maine companies on a regular basis to stay current with what is working well and what might need adjustment. Our Maine businesses are the key to our collective success. Working collaboratively will protect our future.