Document Type



As a State, we face a number of choices.

They aren’t simple, but they are clear.

Our revenues have declined, we have a growing list of needs and we don’t want to raise taxes. And we have a government that in many ways needs to be updated for the 21st Century.

That’s our situation.

Unlike the federal government, which can literally print more money when it wants to, Maine must – and should - balance its budget.

It’s good fiscal policy and it would be irresponsible for our State to spend beyond its means.

But at the same time, the requirement often leaves us to struggle over priorities and how to best put the resources of the State to work.

In tough economic times, like those we face today, our people need more help, not less. But the same slowing economy that hurts job creation and takes a bite out of paychecks also leaves the State with fewer resources to help those in need.

We must prepare for the possibility that more bad news about the economy is coming.

Such times demand that we react with compassion and determination.

We can’t shy away from changes that will put us on more sound financial footing and fix the structural shortcomings in government that needlessly draw resources away from where they can do the most good.

Last year, we began a process of reducing the number of school administrative units. With bipartisan support of the Legislature, we passed a reform that will reduce from 290 to 80 the number of school administrative districts in the State.

Since the early 80s, the number of students in Maine has declined by almost 40,000 and is expected to decline by 20,000 more in the next five years.

During that same time period, the number of school administrators has increased by 400, not including superintendents.

For 50 years, we have done the same old thing, the same old way, and it hasn’t produced the excellence and results that we need.

It’s not sustainable and it drains resources from students and teachers.

Now we’re on to a new structure that will better serve our people. It will save taxpayers money and provide a better quality education for our children.

In August, we began a conversation about the way we treat inmates in our prisons and county jails, the property tax burden that they place on all of our citizens and it’s a very fragmented system.

It is bad for taxpayers and bad for mentally ill and drug-addicted prisoners who do not get the care they need to break the cycle of crime.

I have submitted legislation to unify the state prison system with the 15 county jail administrations.

They’re not breaking local laws or county laws, they’re breaking State laws. Those are State prisoners and the State’s responsibility.

The plan has evolved from when we first began talking about it. We have listened to the concerns from counties. And we have made changes to improve our plan.

If we can tone down the rhetoric and the fear, I believe we can find a solution that will save money and improve the treatment of people in our care.

Also in my budget, I have proposed a process that will reduce the number of natural resource agencies from four to two.

It’s been almost 30 years since we developed our approach to the stewardship of Maine’s natural resources and in those three decades, the world has changed dramatically.

And Maine’s natural resource agencies haven’t been allowed to keep up.

The merger process will seek input from farmers and fisherman, sportsmen and all those willing to come to the table.

Our goal is to enhance the services provided to natural resource-based businesses; To increase outdoor recreation; And to improve natural resource management.

The back office work of all of those agencies – the I.T., human resource and budget people – have already been combined into a natural resource service center. We have been able to do this kind of activity throughout State government and saved over $11.5 million dollars a year. But we need to do more.

Our people need better and higher quality services. They also need tax relief. We have got to look at reducing the administration of these bureaucracies.

We need to have it for the resources to invest in education, economic development, health care and tax relief.

We must also transform government at all levels, strengthen it to meet the demands of a new age. And we must prioritize our spending.

Our efforts are not confined to a single area. We are looking at government at every level, and we’re looking for improvement.

We know that our future economic success is going to be built upon the foundation of our people and the special qualities that define our neighborhoods, towns and our State.

The only way for us to be able to do it is to do things more efficiently – not just on one level of government, but on all levels of government. Integrated, collaborating, partnerships. Serving the 1.3 million people in our state better so that they can produce the results that will better their lives, be able to better support their families, strengthening their communities.

It works from the grassroots up in strengthening our economy, strengthening our people and strengthening our future is my goal and the administration’s goal as we work toward this future.

Thank you.

Exact Creation Date






Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save As"



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
The organization that has made the Item available believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information.