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, and other factors. These companies, too, had choices; they could have innovated here or moved away. In 1951, manufacturing accounted for 43% of non-agricultural jobs in Maine; today that number is under 8.5%. Manufacturers left Maine because almost every American state provides a better alternative for investment.
Maine needs a strategy for attracting investment. We need to create an economic environment where investors will take risks, where they will help build Maine’s future, where they can get a return on investment as good or better than other states. That’s the only way to create a future for our children that connects to the 21st Century economy and creates much needed foundational jobs. A top priority of any public policy must be to support people who build things, do things, bring money into Maine, and provide for people’s basic needs.
We need a plan.