To the Editor:
Maine’s economy is in a death spiral. That’s what Forbes Magazine claims. The same publication measures Maine’s business climate as the worst in the country. One has to wonder if one has something to do with the other.
If Maine business, 97-plus percent of which are small businesses, cannot generate enough new and better jobs and sufficient tax payments to meet our obligations, which is apparently the case, then the state really is in a death spiral.
The above begs the question. If Maine’s economy is in a death spiral, what are we going to do about it?
According to the Maine Economic Research Institute, MERI, a group made up of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, an organization that measures the voting record of legislators on legislation important to business, there are reasons we have the worst business climate.
Historically, according to MERI, Democrats representing Lewiston and Auburn have a terrible record, all voting less than 20 percent of the time in favor of the issues that would help small business. The next obvious question is why—especially since Lewiston and Auburn represent a major economic center of the state, an area badly in need of new and better job opportunities.
No question Democrats want what is best for teachers; state employees; hospitals; welfare recipients; and the young, yet they vote against the very economic sector that can help generate money into the state coffers to fund those programs. Public-sector employees need to lower their placards and see what is happening to our state and demand legislators support small businesses.
We owe the hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars. In the past, the state has raided the public-sector employees’ pension funds to meet obligations. Schools, welfare programs and education budgets are going to be impacted by falling revenue, and yet our Democrat legislators give every indication they will not support small business, the revenue generator.
I figured out what Democrats mean when they say they support new job creation while they are campaigning for our votes. They mean new jobs for the public sector, where employees are members of unions and a large percent of the dues they pay end up supporting Democrats.
That seems to make sense—except now there is not enough money to hire even public employees. In fact, many will probably lose their jobs because of budget cuts, meaning less money to fund Democrats when they seek re-election.
All this is happening under the noses of the mainstream media. Based upon the newspapers I read, there are other segments of our economy in a death spiral.
A strong and vibrant small business sector lifts all boats, and a good job is still the best social service program. Those two factors will lift Maine out of the death spiral and will improve our business climate.
The question is: “Do Democrats want those things to happen?”
Turner is a former executive director of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council; a former president of the Economic Development Counsel of Maine; a commissioner of the Maine State Housing Authority; and owner of a business consulting business in Auburn.