5 Big Ideas
Terry's 5 BIG ideas to improve Maine's economy and quality of life without breaking the bank:
1. Solve Maine's skilled labor shortage by marketing our state as a great place to live and work, as well as to play. Nearly 37 million people visited Maine last year. $8 million in dedicated funding is set aside each year to market our state as a tourist destination. The Hayes Administration will ask the Maine Legislature to match that investment with $8 million in dedicated annual revenue to develop a "pay-to-stay" program that invites tourists to live and work in Maine. We would only need to convince 0.05% of visitors to make Maine their home to solve our state's demographic and workforce challenges.
2. Lower the state income tax to 5% and export more of Maine's tax burden to tourists. Maine has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation and it stifles economic growth. The top priority for the Hayes Administration will be to attract and retain skilled workers needed to fill existing jobs and grow Maine's economy. The focus, along with a shift in reliance on the sales tax generated from tourists, will allow for a reduction in the Maine state income tax rate from 7.15% to 5%.
3. Develop a wellness and prevention plan for Maine to lower health care costs. To lower health care costs, Maine should accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid, but we must at the same time close the gap in reimbursements to providers. However, Medicaid expansion alone isn't enough to drive down costs. That is why the Hayes Administration will work with private insurers and the largest employers in Maine to develop a statewide wellness and prevention plan that incentivizes healthier lives and preventative care, and less reliance on emergency room visits, thus driving down the cost of health care for all.
4. Expand broadband by asking lawmakers and voters to approve $100 million in annual bonding for four years to connect every business in Maine with high speed fiber Internet. Broadband is the superhighway of today's economy. Our businesses can compete globally with reliable, high-speed broadband. The Hayes Administration will propose a $100 million general obligation bond each year for a minimum of four years to be matched with federal dollars to build out the middle and last mile of fiber broadband access across Maine. The Hayes Administration will also prioritize fixing the funding formula for Maine's Highway Fund in order to maintain our roads and bridges on a 'pay as we go' basis instead of borrowing for these expenses as we have done for the past five years.
5. Replace the arbitrary 55% funding for education, which the state has never met in 14 years, with a statewide teacher contract paid by the state that compensates Maine's educators as professionals. The Hayes Administration will stop the politicization of education funding and focus schools on their core mission of teaching and learning to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Teachers are on the front lines and deserve to be compensated at a level that recognizes their importance. A starting teacher shouldn't quality for public assistance. The Hayes Administration will work with policymakers and advocates to make these changes.
This election is an opportunity for us to acknowledge that no one group of people in the state of Maine has all the right answers. Problems aren’t partisan, solutions shouldn’t be either.
I’m running for Governor to offer you a different choice – the better choice of an experienced, independent, and collaborative problem-solver who is beholden only to you, the Maine people, and not to party leaders, special interests, or wealthy campaign contributors.
If we can get it right when it comes to community, the environment, and the economy, then we’ll have a place where our children can stay, work, and raise their families. The path is lit for us, we just have to decide to walk it.
I’m Terry Hayes, and I ask for your vote for Governor on Nov. 6th. Together, we can unite Maine and lead our state in a bold new direction. Let’s get to it!