Maine’s Governor Mills announced and released a statewide strategic plan to be implemented immediately. This type of leadership – and the fact that she released a strategic plan so quickly – is to be commended! If Maine’s economy is to thrive in the future, it needs strong leadership and a good foundational blueprint that we can all follow and act upon.
That said, the plan does still have some gaps. For example, it does not specifically outline how Maine will become more competitive for investments in business expansions, relocations and job growth. If Maine isn’t attractive for good-paying, family-supporting jobs, then every other goal Maine has for its economy becomes much harder to accomplish.
But investment isn’t only about attracting companies and jobs. It’s about Maine’s people. When job opportunities are greater, more Mainers can find a career path that allows them to prosper, support their families and contribute to their community. The taxes generated through jobs – paid by both employers and workers – support our public programs and enhance the types of services Maine can offer to those in need.
Investment creates jobs, which trigger a cascade of positive benefits for people, families, communities and our entire society.
That’s why any economic strategy that does not include action steps to help Maine attract more investment is incomplete.
Certainly, one of the top challenges with creating, maintaining, and enacting a successful strategic plan lies in aligning different interests. People are often self-interested and may not initially support what is best for the state’s economy as a whole.
But there are ways to align varying interests and put people to work for the greater good of the state. A solid strategic plan should provide a vision and incentives to stimulate economic growth across the board.
Specifically, an effective strategic plan should prioritize foundational jobs and getting working people to work in the state, not move away. Sectors such as construction, energy, manufacturing, farming, forestry, fishing, and manufacturing generate wealth and help to support various other state services and industries, including providing valuable tax revenue for the state government. These sectors also provide quality jobs that support families and should be supported.
Such a plan should enable faster alignment on key issues, like government policies or tax incentives, because it’s easy to see how focusing on foundational jobs benefits everyone. When foundational jobs take up a major part of the economy, Maine as a whole sees serious economic growth and other major advantages.
This optimistic vision is possible, but only if we work together. Contact the Alliance for Maine today or sign up for our newsletter to stay involved and to keep informed of the issues that affect our entire state.