Measures of Growth in Focus, 2010 Maine report

By Ramona du Houx - February 25th, 2010 · 

The Maine Economic Growth Council released its 2010 Measures of Growth in Focus annual economic report today. Senator Seth Goodall, co-chair of the Council and Council member, Steve Schley, presented the report to legislative leaders. This year’s report highlights 24 indicators that measure Maine’s progress towards long-term, sustainable economic growth. Twelve of the indicators in this year’s report made positive progress toward reaching their benchmarks. This is an increase from nine in the previous publication.

“Reigning in energy costs is very important for an energy dependent state like Maine,” said Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree. “By increasing the mix of renewable generation and increasing efficiency in our homes and businesses, Maine can take control of our energy future. The Legislature has made large investments in home efficiencies in the past year that will reduce demand and lower costs.”

The Growth Council awards Gold Stars to indicators that demonstrate exceptional performance and assigns Red Flags to indicators that need attention. This year, the Council awarded two Gold Stars to Per Capita Personal Income and Health Insurance Coverage. The Council gave four Red Flags to Research and Development Expenditures, Higher Education Attainment, Cost of Health Care, and Cost of Energy.

“Maine has done a good job fostering growth in hi-tech industries, our manufacturing sector is adapting to the demands of the modern marketplace, we have enhanced our quality of place and renewable energy is emerging as a leading industry,” commented Senator Goodall. “These are just a few examples of the type of innovation taking place in our state.”

“It is difficult to think beyond the immediate problems and challenges of the world when dealing with the fallout from the biggest economic recession in recent memory,” said Laurie Lachance, President and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation which is charged by the Legislature to administer the Council. “Despite the urgency, the long-term plan has not changed and the fundamentals of development and growth are more important than ever. The Measures of Growth report offers a means of weighing and prioritizing investment decisions. Focus and prioritization will be essential to manage our limited state resources against a seemingly endless list of needs.”

The Council represents a diversity of interests including government, business, education, labor, and environment.

“This report card is an important tool that policy makers use to evaluate current trends and possible next steps,” said Senate President Libby Mitchell. “It continues to be evident that we must do more work to bring down the cost of energy, health care and transportation. While we have areas where we must improve, I am optimistic because the overall assessment seems to indicate that we are positioned to grow as the economy recovers from the recession.”

The Maine Development Foundation (MDF) empowers leaders, strengthens communities, and guides public policy. MDF was created by the Governor and Legislature in 1978 as a private, non-profit corporation with a broad mandate to promote Maine’s economy.

The Council was established by state statute in 1993 to develop a plan for the state’s economic growth and create specific measures and benchmarks to assess Maine’s progress

For a complete copy of the report please go to www.mdf.org