Entries Filed in 'Editorials'
While Governor LePage’s veto power controlled Republican votes in Augusta communities across the state continued to move forward with innovative plans.
Being innovative requires thinking outside the box to come up with creative solutions and ideas. It’s all about doing things better and creating things of value. It relies upon resourcefulness, integrity, ingenuity and persistence— intrinsically strong Maine traits. The Portland Public Market House is a great example of innovation in progress as the community-gathering place has been incubating new small businesses while expanding Maine’s quality of life. And Waterville’s innovative film festival, (MIFF) brings thousands of people together giving businesses a boost.
Innovation drives 80 percent of economic growth according to Nobel-Prize winning economist Robert Solow.
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Tags: Innovation economy in Maine
Editorial by Ramona du Houx
Citizens in Maine have the unique ability to create laws outside of the Capitol with the referendum process. Over recent years, voters have weighed in and won referendums that have increased the affordability of a college education and given equality to gays and lesbians to marry. Voters have shown they know how to cut through political rhetoric and do what is right.
Maine’s democratic process has proven over and over again that the voice of the people counts.
The referendum process is also a safety valve when there is gridlock in Augusta. Like releasing a logjam to allow logs to flow down the river, the referendum releases the power of the people to vote on issues important to them. To insure the health and wellbeing of our neighbors, friends, families, and communities, Mainers sometimes need to take charge, in a democratic way, by using the referendum process.
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By Rep. Seth Berry
Maine must seize every opportunity to invest in our prosperity. At this time, we’re far behind in the vital area of research and development, which we need to grow innovative businesses that create the jobs of tomorrow.Democratic and Republican lawmakers need to come together for the long-term health of our economy. And we need Governor Paul LePage to join the effort.
Maine is 45th in the nation in research and development investment. We put only about 1 percent of our gross domestic product into R&D, rather than the 3 percent recommended by the Maine Economic Growth Council.We’re way behind other parts of the country. We invest at only half the level of the nation as a whole and not even at one-quarter of New England’s rate.
Yet we know that every dollar of state R&D investment returns $12 in economic benefits to Maine.
R&D is good for business, but so far the governor has rejected it. Last year, he vetoed an R&D bond passed by a Republican Legislature. This year, he prevented a similar bond from being included on this November’s ballot.
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One of the phenomena in today’s political scene is a shadowy organization that calls itself the “Club For Growth.” It is ultra right wing in its politics and funded by mega wealthy tycoons who prefer to remain anonymous.
Its use of the seductive word “Growth” in its title hides its real agenda. Or rather, what these people mean by Growth is opening the floodgates against restraint to the big business community. No laws against polluting, insider trading, cooking the books in financial ratings, starvation wages for workers, preventing unionization, no responsibility for on the job accidents or deaths due to company negligence and, oh, yes, no allowing taxes on anyone except the poor and the middle class. In the eyes of these Club for Growth royalists, they are the new nobility (mistakenly called “job creators”) and, like the aristocracy of old, should be supported in their posh lifestyles by their inferiors.
Their collaborators in the endeavor I call the Club For No Growth are, of course, the Republican Party Obstructionists in Congress, notably the Republicans in the House of Representatives, who are exercising an ability to gum up the governmental work of doing the people’s business. Any action they can take to slow down the return to prosperity for the vast majority of Americans injured by the Bush Recession they will take, no matter how damaging. Any program that will increase the buying power of the poor and middle class is, as the Germans say, streng verboten, strictly forbidden. They revel in the rise of unemployment figures. See, they say, you have elected and re-elected a President who is not only black but liberal and what a terrible job he is doing. By skewing the flow of taxpayer funds back into the hands of the very rich through manipulation of the tax code – and even trying to block their paying a fraction more – they argue they will be inducing the alleged “job creators” to invest in the U.S. economy. In reality, they use the tax breaks they receive to shift their funds overseas, like Governor Romney did his nest egg in the Cayman Islands. The Club for Growth’s is plainly not for growth of American jobs, but the growth of obscene profits for an ever more privileged few to pocket.
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Tags: Republican extremists
Democratic state lawmakers set out this session to strengthen Maine’s economy and grow the middle class. Strategic investments in critical areas are vital to our success. Bonds in key areas like research and development and transportation infrastructure can boost our economy and create jobs.
Legislators will return to the State House next month to address a comprehensive bonding plan. Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues to send Maine voters a thoughtful and strategic plan – one that will jump start our economy, put Mainers back to work and lay the foundation for our future prosperity.
I’m a retired certified pipe welder and was active in my union at the mill. Some of the proudest moments of my career took place when we were fighting for the livelihoods of our members and the success of our company and the surrounding communities. So it’s really painful to see that 48,000 Mainers remain unemployed today, and that some parts of our state our grappling with unemployment rates of nearly 10 percent.
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Tags: Cutting-edge technology·Economy·Research and Development Bonds
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Governor Paul Le Page’s vulgar and even pornographic blast at a Democratic State Senator. More recently, I was to hear from one of my sons-in-law, married to my oldest daughter and on a visit to Maine from their home in California, that he was shocked to read in a California paper what our Maine Chief Executive said. My son-in-law, born and raised in Utah, is an Evangelical Christian and although we never talk politics, I presume a Republican. The bad press that Maine has received from our Governor travels far and wide, it seems, and does us no good.
So what does this have to do with another of our Governors, Ken Curtis – a much, much different person and Chief Executive than the ex-Mayor of Waterville who presently holds the position.
It’s no secret that I worked for Ken for six years before being elected to the Maine Legislature from York. Well, recently I received an invitation to join Ken and his wife Polly at a reunion of ex-staffers and also a request to prepare some personal
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Not many Americans could point out Bangladesh on a world map. Fewer still know that it was once a part of Pakistan and was called East Bengal, or that it is separated from Pakistan by 1,500 miles of intervening India. Its main reputation in the U.S. is that it is a place where clothes are made cheaply and find numerous buyers here. Lately, though, the textile industry in Bangladesh has suffered several serious disasters, culminating in the deaths of workers who were turning out those products.
The most serious disaster was the Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013 of an eight story commercial building. The fatalities reached a horrendous toll of 1,127, mostly of garment workers who were ordered to work on the premises after warnings had been issued because of cracks discovered in the structure. Thus, “the deadliest garment factory accident in history” took place . More than twice as many people – 2,500 – were injured.
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Tags: Civil Rights·Government transparency·History in Politics·Maine History·unions
In the past week, Maine has been front and center in the editorial pages of the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and national TV news. Unfortunately, not touting the good things about Maine, our resources, our businesses, or our people. Instead, we are making headlines because of our governor’s outbursts and vulgar sexual remarks. It’s been said before, his behavior is not fitting in a school yard and certainly isn’t fitting of our state’s highest leader.
Maine has a long history of political firsts…a history of having leaders who are world-renowned and respected, from Margaret Chase Smith to George Mitchell, Bill Cohen, Ed Muskie, and Olympia Snowe just to name a few. These are leaders who not only got things done for Maine, for us, they thrust Maine in to the national and sometimes international spot light for being home to some of the best and brightest, most diplomatic and practical lawmakers in history.
Sadly, we are making a different kind of history these days. We have a governor who not only makes headlines for his temper tantrums but also for turning away opportunity for this state. Economic opportunity. Business opportunity.
Governor LePage is known for saying, “capital goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s appreciated.”
And so, why then, is there another round of headlines talking about a $200 million dollar business slipping away?
More than a year ago, StatOil, a Norwegian energy innovator, chose Maine as its foothold for a first of its kind off-shore energy project. A project that would employ thousands of people over time and have an economic spin off to other local industries and businesses like BIW, Reed & Reed, and Cianbro, just to name a few. But better yet, it is a unique opportunity to be the home to a significant new cutting-edge industry. The University of Maine said attracting StatOil to Maine is like attracting the next Apple, GM or Google to Maine. The opportunity to play host for world-wide innovator is rare.
But, unfortunately, this week, StatOil has put its plans on hold and is re-evaluating its interest in doing business in Maine. Why? Because the governor, in a last-minute political maneuver, pulled the welcome mat out from underneath StatOil. He changed the rules of the game and withdrew the predictability that comes with inking a deal. In a single act, the governor has signaled to a world innovator that is interested in investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Maine, that they are not wanted here in Maine.
“Capital goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s appreciated.”
Everyone talks about attracting businesses to Maine. A billion dollar industry has come to us and we cannot let them get away. We cannot miss this opportunity.
The governor of the state is not only the state’s chief executive but he—or she—is our state’s marketer in chief. Our chief, our governor ranks third from the bottom in job creation. That’s another headline we don’t need.
As President of the Senate, I along with my colleagues in the Legislature have worked hard to change the tone in Augusta. We understand that the people of Maine care less about political rhetoric and more about results. There are a lot of positive things going on in our state. I want us to share and celebrate in those successes, not be shamed by the negative.
Tags: Cutting-edge technology·Government transparency
By John G. Richardson
In Maine, we have a long history of using the referendum process. The voters have weighed in on most groundbreaking legislation in our state at least once, and Maine citizens have shown themselves to be quite capable of cutting through all the rhetoric and standing up for what is right.
Maybe it’s time to use the referendum once again because it seems like some leaders aren’t listening to us. These leaders have already made up their mind on most issues and think that everyone should just go along with their point of view. Nowhere is this more evident than in the legislative session now wrapping up.
Here’s the pattern. The Legislature considers a bill. They vote for it unanimously in committee; it passes by a wide margin in the House and Senate; the governor vetoes it; Republicans flip their votes to back up the governor and the override fails. This has happened 15 or 16 times in the last two months — not the most vetoes ever by a Maine governor, but plenty more than in recent memory.
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In rural America, the local community drives the rural economy. Money spent and invested locally rolls through a community and generates even more economic benefits. That’s why rural small businesses are critical to strong rural communities. And it’s why USDA Rural Development is pleased to join with the Small Business Administration to recognize and honor America’s small businesses this week, during National Small Business Week. President Obama marked the beginning of Small Business Week by issuing a Presidential Proclamation for the 50th year running.
At USDA Rural Development, we have the expertise and financing to help small businesses to thrive. Our assistance has a significant impact on rural communities. In 2012, we helped 263 Maine businesses through our Business Programs, impacting
798 local jobs.
USDA Rural Development invests in many sectors of the Maine economy. Helping to grow businesses that support local and regional foods, investing in the bio-based economy, and assisting intermediary organizations relend to small rural businesses are just a few ways this is being accomplished in Maine.
Just ask the Maine agribusiness Northern Girl. Its new vegetable processing facility in Van Buren officially opens this fall, supporting 12 rural northern Maine farms that will supply it with fresh locally-gown root vegetables. Funded in part by a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant in the amount of $350,000, the new
4,000 square-foot facility will be a major source of local and regional foods in Maine and New England, with their ultimate goal to process 1 million pounds when at full capacity.
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