AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says Mainers who want to see prosperity need only look one state to the west.
In his weekly radio address Saturday, LePage said Maine needs to move forward on several fronts to achieve prosperity. The state’s tax burden, costs of health care and energy and the business climate all must be addressed, he said.
Maine must also “realign its regulations and resources so the private sector has a fighting chance to create jobs and make investments that expand the tax base,” the governor said.
LePage said that New Hampshire is a “more welcoming place for commerce.” While the Granite State’s population is only slightly larger than Maine’s, its $60 billion gross domestic product is 20 percent more than Maine’s $50 billion in economic activity, he said.
LePage said New Hampshire’s household incomes, $63,731, are seventh-highest in the country, compared to Maine’s 37th ranking at $46,581.
“It will take hard work, but we can put Maine on a footing where we can compete with New Hampshire and the world,” LePage said.
In the Democratic response, Rep. Bruce MacDonald of Boothbay brings up the public outcry over the governor’s removal of murals from the state Labor Department office.
“As we approach the 100-day mark of the LePage administration’s time in office, we appreciate our Republican colleagues finally joining us in saying ‘enough is enough,’ on the dramatics coming from the governor’s office that are wasting everyone’s time,” MacDonald said, referring to a published column from eight GOP senators.
But MacDonald said Democrats are mostly concerned about LePage’s policies.
“New jobs and a strong economy come from smart tax and investment policies that benefit our local small businesses, our traditional industries, and help attract new industries to our state,” MacDonald said. He also called for investments in education.