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Headlines continue to belittle the progress made in Maine's economy under my administration. They ignore decades of progressive tax-and-spend policies that have hindered our state's recovery.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

We inherited a state with a struggling economy and significant obstacles to economic growth: high taxes, high welfare dependency, high energy costs, overly complex regulations and unpaid debt to our hospitals.

Ensuring more young people stay and work in Maine will fuel economic growth. As the oldest state in the nation, we need to adequately train our youth for the careers of today in order to make significant changes to strengthen our economy.

We also need to attract new companies and be willing to lower energy costs.

My administration has led the effort to position the state for long-term economic growth. In 2011, we worked with Summit Natural Gas to invest in the State of Maine. They have already invested over $300 million in a main artery system for natural gas infrastructure. This provides employers like Sappi’s Somerset mill access to long-term, competitively priced fuel to power Maine manufacturing. The liberal-led 126th Legislature tried to increase spending and implement massive welfare expansion, but I used the veto to hold state government in check. This is giving the reforms of the 125th Legislature time to take effect, including the largest income tax cut in Maine history.

We proposed bills that would make Maine companies more competitive, but Democrats refused to pass any pro-jobs legislation. They chose to ignore our economic and demographic realities.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and economies don't fall overnight. Maine is the oldest state in the nation. We are facing a decrease in our working-age population because of a declining birth rate over several decades.

Our economists have long known this would be a challenging period for growth, regardless of who was governor. When faced with these challenges, Democrats delayed making the tough choices to diversify our economy. Instead, they expanded government. Mainers have had to pay a high price for their lack of vision.

What really matters is how well we’re doing getting our people re-employed, and that is a very positive story.

Maine is among the leaders in the nation in the share of p opulation that is employed.

We are now seeing the positive benefits of reform: about 20,000 have been created in the private sector since I took office. Employers are hiring and wages are rising. We are seeing lower unemployment, and our welfare-to-work programs are getting people back into jobs.

Democrats and liberal think-tanks want to make Mainers disbelieve the positive economic news.

Let’s stay positive and learn more about the facts. We are paying the bills, fixing our welfare system and providing Mainers more opportunities.

Maine IS better off today than it was four years ago and our actions can back it up.

Thank you for listening.

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