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We are in an economic crisis we have not seen the likes of in nearly a century. We’ve heard the rhetoric and now we are in dire need of a resolution.

Hello. This is your Governor, Paul LePage.

Higher taxes, record spending, and bigger government has failed to create jobs or boost economic growth. The President has pitched his jobs bill, but, unfortunately, it’s a plan we know will not work, as evident by the reaction of the stock market just a day after the plan was unveiled.

Too many politicians have been blind to the fact that government cannot create jobs. What we can do in government is improve the environment by which jobs are created.

The President’s plan only creates more public-sector jobs. Instead, we should be empowering our job creators in the private-sector. We need to focus on giving the tools to the businesses that truly create prosperity through hiring people.

Small businesses are the bread and butter of the Maine economy. We have more than 41-thousand small businesses that employ 20 people or less. Maine’s economic recovery is driven by those small businesses and their vision for growth.

My Administration is focused on cutting through red tape government bureaucracy that is hurting job growth.

There are three factors we must consider for a business to be successful.

First, it must be able to operate in a sound, predictable business climate.

Second, job creators must have a cost structure that allows it to sell its product or service at a profit.

Third, and most importantly, any business is only as successful as its people.

Creating a sound, predictable business climate is what my administration has been focused on. Streamlining rules and regulations, including the permitting process in which our job creators must adhere by, is a step every department is taking seriously.

The Department of Economic and Community Development has established “The Maine Business Answers” hotline which provides a one-stop shop for questions relating to starting or running a business in Maine. Staff is available to answer questions and, through the Business Assistance Liaisons in each Department throughout state government, offers a network of resources to answer any and all questions relating to permits, licensing and doing business in Maine.

The second factor relates to costs. The Legislature has already passed a health care law that will help lower costs to businesses, and my staff and I are now working on lowering energy costs.

To optimize economic growth we must decrease the total cost of energy. Currently, we are ranked 12th highest in the Nation for electricity costs.

We can lower our rates in a way that is environmentally responsible, in compliance with all applicable standards and regulations based on sound science, and promotes cost competitive indigenous energy sources and achieves direct and indirect private sector job growth.

I have spoken to companies that want to bring their jobs to Maine, but they have told me they can’t afford to move here because of our electricity costs. This is an unnecessary hurdle blocking job creation in our state.

Finally, our workforce is aging and our younger generation coming out of college is not equipped with the skills for the jobs we currently have.

Proximity to a skilled workforce is one of the primary deciding factors for businesses looking to expand or relocate to a particular area.

We can close the “skill gap” and we are working toward that goal. Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Bob Winglass is working to address the skills shortage by gearing its workforce development initiatives, including retraining for laid off workers, to sectors where skills are most needed.

He is working with companies to help them improve their workforce skills through apprenticeship and on the job training.

The Department of Education is getting involved too.

Education Commissioner Steve Bowen is establishing a dialog with school administrators asking the question – how do we make every effort to prepare all students for post-secondary education and 21st-century careers?

Our schools can do a better job of exposing students to potential careers. And they need to align the skills taught in the classroom with the skills in demand.

Today, we are faced with an economic challenge, but it is a challenge we can overcome. The way we do that is to reiterate common sense solutions and the truth. Thank you for listening.

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