The COVID-19 crisis is revealing cracks and weak points throughout our economy, our government, and our ideas about the future.
Once the crisis is behind us, Maine leaders should think deeply about the weaknesses the virus has exposed and act accordingly to build a more resilient economy and sustainable path for our state.
Governor Mills recently released a statewide strategic plan. She should be commended for making a good start on a badly needed vision for Maine’s future.
The plan focuses on workforce development and innovation. These are two of the three key components of any plan. But it does not address investment.
Money can either be used to buy things today or it can be invested to make for better tomorrows. Investment is a vote of confidence in the future. It creates new jobs, new taxpayers, and more prosperity for everyone.
The Governor’s strategic plan is a great start but it needs work to be complete. What will it take for Maine to be more attractive to new businesses with 21st Century jobs than other states?
Having raised taxes in the past means fewer jobs, fewer workers, fewer young families in Maine, and a poorer, less productive, lower tax revenue future. It will take a lot of courage and vision, but we need to lower property, sales, and income taxes to attract jobs and investment so that we will have more workers and younger people with families living here and paying taxes in the days to come.
As Maine, the nation and the world figure out when and how to hit the “reset” button after COVID-19, we have an opportunity to take a fresh look at the Governor’s strategic plan, the assumptions that went into it, and how we can add strategies for attracting private investment to the plan.
One thing is clear, our ways of living, working and spending will look different in the future. Maine is now feeling the pain of an economy that has shifted toward an imbalance of service-sector jobs.
We need a plan that supports the attraction of foundational jobs, the employers who create them, and the Mainers who will do the work of the future.