Senator Goodall and Representative Berry will lead the Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future in developing legislation to strengthen Maine’s workforce, capitalize on our state’s economic engines, and help Maine’s small businesses thrive.
“I am optimistic about the work that will be done in this committee,” said Senate President Justin Alfond. “Senator Goodall and Representative Berry are both hard-working and thoughtful individuals who will help lead Maine in developing a short-term plan to jump start our economy today and a long-term vision to strengthen Maine’s economic future.”
The joint select committee will work with experts and industry leaders to formulate a plan to improve Maine’s economy. Democrats said the plan would build on the bipartisan work done last session to streamline regulations.
“We know we have to work with Republicans and the Governor to strengthen our economy and grow our middle class,” said Speaker Mark Eves. “The focus on workforce training and the skills gap is an area where we know there is common ground.”
The committee will focus its work on three areas: addressing the workforce skills gap to better connect the needs of workers and businesses, investing in places like downtowns and Main Streets, often the economic engines of our state, and strengthening Maine’s small businesses to help them compete in today’s economy.
“One key to Maine’s economic recovery includes prioritizing our investments in Maine’s people, our downtowns, and business,” said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond, who also serves on the Maine Economic Growth Council. “Targeting investments that strengthen the skills of Maine workers and grow our downtowns will inevitably benefit the middle class and our businesses. This can boost our economy today, while also building it to last.”
In 2011, Maine was the only state in New England whose economy shrank, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Maine is one of only three states nationwide in 2012 whose revenues were below estimates, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) Budget Update for Fall 2012.
“Maine businesses and workers have very specific and powerful ideas about how we can realize the full potential of our state,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry. “We intend to gather and synthesize the best achievable ideas with our Republican colleagues and get the job done.”
Members will be named to the committee next week. The committee, officially established today during a Joint Order in the Maine Legislature, is expected to begin its work the week of January 28.