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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

Last week, the Legislature put aside partisanship and passed a responsible budget that will bring State spending in line with revenues.

Through the hard work of countless individuals, we passed a plan that will make government smaller and more efficient.

It will protect the most vulnerable.

It will make important investments in health and human services and in education.

And it does it without raising taxes, fees or fines. And it brings the spending level in 2010-11 to the same level that it was in 2001, almost 10 years ago.

All of Maine should be proud of the overwhelmingly bipartisan effort to address problems caused by the worst recession since the Great Depression.

But as we enter what is likely the last week of Legislative session, there is still much work to be done.

The Legislature will soon consider proposals to make a significant investment in job creation.

While State revenues and our economy appear to be stabilizing, unemployment is still too high.

More than 57,000 Mainers are without jobs, and the unemployment rate in some construction-related industries is still more than 25 percent.

It’s critical that we take action today to put people back to work.

I have proposed a $79 million dollar investment package that will put almost 2,000 people back to work within the next 12 months.

And the package will help to protect the jobs of thousands of more workers.

This bond package is conservative, targeted toward projects that will create jobs quickly.

It includes $31 million in highways, making much needed repairs around the State.

Eleven counties in Maine would benefit from improved roads.

My plan also includes a major investment to protect rail service in Aroostook County.

Right now, the State is on the verge of losing the railroad.

If we don’t invest, 22 companies will be cut off from rail, almost 1,000 workers directly impacted.

Aroostook is heavily dependent on farming and wood products, industries that depend on rail to move their goods to markets around the world.

The State MUST NOT stand by while this asset is lost.

The consequences are still too high. And the ripple impacts will be felt all over the State.

In addition, the investment package will improve freight rail and begin to open up more of the State to passenger rail, particularly in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

My plan would also invest in the deep-water pier in Portland, expanding the ports operation and drawing thousands of people and millions of dollars to the State.

I’m also proposing that we invest $7 million dollars to keep our State’s water cleaner and our communities healthier.

These water projects create jobs and draw as much as five-to-one match from the federal government.

It’s a good deal and it’s important work.

My proposal invests $5 million dollars in the State’s industrial energy efficiency program.

This program helps large employers reduce their energy costs and the amount of pollution they produce, and protect a significant amount of the workforce.

But as important, the savings make the companies more competitive and also help the State of Maine.

We know that our people can compete with anyone in the world if they have a level playing field.

These grants give them a fighting chance, and keep jobs from moving overseas.

I’m also proposing to invest $5 million dollars at the University of Maine to help our State grow a new industry building the component parts, the manufacturing for wind energy generation.

Maine is a leader in the United States on energy conservation and the development of alternative energy.

With these investments, we can continue our leadership role and attract new businesses to Maine, creating jobs and securing our State’s energy future.

I know that among some there is concern about borrowing right now, even for the worthy cause of creating jobs.

But we cannot sit back and wait for the economy to improve. We must take appropriate action to make it happen.

But just as the budget we passed last week was responsible, protecting human life while also safeguarding our economy, investing in new jobs is also responsible.

Maine is conservative in its bonding, maintaining debt levels well below the national average. And paying them back in 10 years, not the standard 20 years.

The bond rating agencies consistently point to the strength of Maine’s borrowing practices.

We can afford this investment.

Months ago, I heard people say that there was no way the State could find its way to re-balance the budget.

But through hard work, and a focus on doing what was right for the State and good-faith efforts by Democrats and Republicans, we were able to pass a budget plan that was supported by 110 members of the House and 31 out of 35 members of the Senate.

It wasn’t easy, but at the end of the day we were successful.

I hope the same thing can happen on this issue.

It’s a tough vote for some folks, but our roads our crumbling and our people need work.

Now is the time to invest.

Thank you, have a nice weekend and a Happy Easter.

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