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Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday that she is convening a committee that will meet over the rest of 2020 to oversee the state’s recovery from the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus.
The committee will not address public health issues, including the reopening timeframe for the state, the Democratic governor said. She hinted that there may be some changes to business opening requirements later this week, but Mills held firm for now on quarantines for visitors, a requirement that has attracted sharp criticism from tourism businesses.
Before the pandemic hit, the governor last December released a 10-year economic plan with goals of growing the workforce by 75,000 people and raising wages by 10 percent in a bid to both stem the economic effects of an aging population.
The 37-member committee, co-chaired by Tilson CEO Josh Broder and Thomas College President Laurie Lachance, will hold its first meeting as soon as possible and produce a preliminary report by July 15 and a final report by Dec. 1. Broder heads an information technology company and Lachance is a former Maine state economist.
The committee includes representatives of small businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, unions, municipalities, tribal and immigrant communities, hospitality and tourism industries, and educational institutions as well as a bipartisan delegation of legislative designees.
“While we work to protect public health and safely restart Maine’s economy, I am convening a committee of experts and stakeholders from various industries and with vast experiences to develop recommendations that can guide our economic recovery,” Mills said.
The committee, which was established by an executive order on Wednesday, will collect input from experts and industry representatives on the impact of the pandemic on Maine’s economy and offer policy recommendations to mitigate those impacts.
The recommendations aim to strengthen Maine’s key industries and small businesses and workforce development, improve opportunities for lower- and middle-income families, expand economic opportunities for rural communities and attract new investments and innovations in key sectors including business, communication, health care, recreation and education.
Watch: State labor commissioner speaks to unemployed Mainers