Governor Mills: The time to invest in our economic recovery is now.

February 26, 2021

Like all of you, I want to get our state back on track. I want to get people back to work. I want to diversify our economy too, in the long run providing good-paying jobs in every corner of this state and providing opportunity for all Maine families.

I want a future in this state for every Maine child. I want people to see Maine not simply as “Vacationland” but as a great place to live year-round, work and raise a family.

And we want all our young people to know that they don’t have to leave the state to get a first class education or to find work that is gratifying, useful and financially rewarding.

We will build that Maine and we will build a better, brighter future for all of us.

So, where do we start?

Hey, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

My Administration’s 10 year economic development plan and the recommendations of the Economic Recovery Committee I convened last year, point the way to a brighter future.

To accelerate Maine’s economic recovery, get people back to work and expand our economy, in the coming weeks, my Administration will present to the Legislature our “Back to Work” bond proposal.

In addition to investing in roads and bridges, working lands and waterfronts, research and development, and energy efficiency, the Back to Work Bond will include $30 million to expand broadband across Maine, building on our successful efforts last year to secure $15 million in new funding for broadband. Everybody has problems connecting to the internet and we need to address that now all across the state.

We’ll also propose $25 million for equipment for Maine’s Career and Technical Education programs and for Maine’s Community College System to train skilled workers to fill jobs in high-growth industries.

Along with that, there’ll be $50 million proposed for Maine farmers, foresters, and fishermen to increase local processing infrastructure and improve access to markets and add value to products grown, caught, and cultured here in Maine.

We’ll also propose $6 million for grants and low interest loans to renovate and expand and construct childcare facilities and increase the number of childcare slots, with half of that money going to the underserved communities in rural Maine.

Now, I have heard some say that we should enact sweeping budget cuts instead of making these smart investments in our state.

Look I know that State government cannot be all things to all people all the time. And that it cannot solve all our problems or address the needs of all people.

But history shows that we cannot cut our way to prosperity. During emergencies such as this, people depend on their government to protect children, to secure health care, to provide public safety, to safeguard educational and career opportunities and to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens.

Well I am not going to walk away from, or abandon, Maine families in their time of greatest need — especially when it is not necessary to do that.

State Treasurer Henry Beck reports that interest rates remain at historically low levels. As a result of our good fiscal stewardship, Maine’s credit rating has been reaffirmed during the pandemic while other states have seen theirs downgraded. So it’s a good time to make this proposal.

My budget proposals provide basic continuity, consistency and stability, something our state needs at this time. My “Back to Work” bond proposal will also speed up our economic recovery.

The time to invest in our economic recovery is now. The time to move forward on Maine’s economy is now. The time to get Maine back on track and back on its feet is now.

This is Governor Janet Mills.

Please stay safe and thank you for listening.