Economic Activity vs. “Economic Impact”

September 10, 2019

Recently, the Maine Association of Nonprofits issued its annual report looking at the “economic impact” of Maine’s charities. Like other economic reports, it requires a bit of unpacking. There’s no question that non-profits provide valuable services to Mainers. They do sustain large payrolls, which benefit Maine families who work in these fields (predominantly health care). […]

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Maine Needs More “Foundational Jobs”

August 13, 2019

All jobs are useful, but some are foundational.  Public sector jobs are dependent upon private sector jobs that generate tax revenue.  Service sector jobs are also dependent on jobs in manufacturing, construction, transportation, energy, farming, fishing, and forestry.  These latter jobs are foundational because they support everything else. Foundational jobs make new things, add unique […]

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 Investment creates jobs. But what creates investment?

July 31, 2019

Jobs start with investments made by investors and entrepreneurs who believe in their ideas and are committed to creating a better future.  These people and organizations have choices, and they consistently choose stable economic environments that generate the greatest returns on investment.   Maine’s industries—like paper-making—have been affected by changes in consumer demands, technological advances, […]

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Maine Legislature: Thousands of Bills, No Comprehensive Strategy

June 20, 2019

This year there were well over 2,000 bills introduced in the Maine Legislature.  Hundreds of them were “asks” by the whole spectrum of special interests.  There are 186 legislators each of whom can introduce an unlimited number of bills.  They are all up for election every two years, so their time frames are measured in […]

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Powering Up Maine’ s Workforce for Jobs of the Future

April 15, 2019

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.

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Can Maine Resist the Temptation to Settle for Bite-Sized Solutions?

April 3, 2019

Maine public policy has not supported the retention or attraction of quality, “foundational jobs.”  The state has lost thousands of jobs in manufacturing, paper making, forestry, construction, and farming and has not attracted many innovative 21st Century employers.

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Maine Losing the Competition for Jobs

March 13, 2019

For years Maine’s public policies have responded to job loss, an aging population, and the departure of our young people with programs to help the unemployed and elderly and increase funding to education.

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Maine Needs a Plan for its Economic Future

March 4, 2019

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.

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Can Economic Prosperity Come Solely from Higher (or Lower) Taxes?

February 8, 2019

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 […]

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Maine Needs an Economic Strategy That is Broader Than One Industry or Community

October 19, 2018

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.

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