NEWS AND OBSERVATIONS
ABOUT MAINE'S ECONOMY
Jobs in manufacturing, construction, transportation, energy, and tourism are foundational to the Maine economy. They make and do things, create wealth, and pay the fees and taxes to support the service and public sectors. Those jobs start with investment and require trained workers suited to the jobs available.
Maine has been losing good-paying, foundational jobs for years, the population is aging, our kids are leaving, and statewide deaths exceed births. Lots of people are aware of all these challenges and are trying to change our direction. Many are working on strategic plans for specific industries or individual regions of Maine. Yet, none of them are comprehensive or long-term and things are not improving.
Bring up Maine’s economic challenges and you will be met – inevitably – with two suggestions: cut taxes and raise taxes. But neither approach is a comprehensive economic strategy and both have political and social consequences. First, let’s look at calls to cut taxes. It is certainly true that having some of the highest […]
Understandably, Maine companies organize themselves by industry group—oil dealers, truckers, foresters, manufacturers, restaurants, and so forth. There are lots of good reasons to work together to address common issues and that approach works on a number of fronts. Currently quite a few sectors—aquaculture, forestry, manufacturing, and tourism to name a few—are working hard to promote their members, expand their opportunities, and increase foundational jobs for working people.
For years Maine’s economy was based on natural resources—farming, fishing, forestry—and the derivative businesses like paper-making. In recent years the state has lost over 20,000 quality foundational jobs. AFM has said it is unlikely those jobs are coming back. For example, the internet dramatically reduced the demand for paper, the paper mills closed, and operations were moved elsewhere.
For Maine to prosper, we need to recognize that investing in businesses IS investing in people. Business is just the way people organize to get things done—to do things for people. The food we eat is produced, processed, and delivered by businesses. The cars we drive are made, delivered, sold, and maintained by businesses. The fuel that heats our homes is obtained, processed, and delivered by businesses. And all of those businesses are really people—enabled by the tools they need to do their work.