AUGUSTA — Governor Janet Mills announced Wednesday her Economic Recovery Committee has delivered to her its immediate recommendations to stabilize and support Maine’s economy through the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the top recommendations from the Economic Recovery Committee are support for Maine workers and families disproportionately affected by the pandemic, ensuring the safe operation of child care and in-person instruction in Maine schools, directing economic relief grants to employers, and sustaining public health measures. Additionally, the Committee endorsed accelerating investments to expand broadband internet service in Maine, which emerged as a key consensus recommendation given the reliance on distance working, education and healthcare during the pandemic.
“We cannot have economic health without public health. Real economic recovery requires us to remain vigilant against this dangerous virus as we take steps to support Maine people and businesses,” said Governor Janet Mills. “I welcome these recommendations, which represent a blueprint for action, and which also underscore the dire need for additional aid from the Federal government to support a more robust stabilization and recovery. In the coming weeks, my Administration will work with the Legislature and others to further examine these recommendations and chart a path forward. I am grateful to the Economic Recovery Committee for its skill and speed in delivering this important report and look forward to its continued work in the coming months.”
Since beginning its work in mid-May, the Committee and its six subcommittees met publicly more than 70 times to develop this initial report drawing from the knowledge, expertise and suggestions of hundreds of Maine people, businesses and organizations.
“I’m proud of the way our committee diligently identified the highest priorities for Maine and worked collaboratively to produce this report,” said Laurie Lachance, president of Thomas College and co-chair of the Committee. “By emphasizing the needs of Maine people and employers, we will ensure our state’s recovery is as strong as possible”
“Our work is not yet finished, and we look forward to turning our attention to identifying bold strategies and targeted investments to help our state build a bridge to future prosperity,” said Joshua Broder, CEO of Tilson and co-chair of the Committee.
In addition to the Governor and her Administration, the Committee’s recommendations will be shared with the Legislature to guide action on economic recovery.
“It is very helpful to see the Economic Recovery’s Committee’s recommendations for economic stabilization,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “The Committee’s open and transparent process allowed for thoughtful feedback from across the state which the committee then could prioritize. We will begin working on some of those priorities immediately. We look forward to the next phase of the Economic Recovery Committee’s work.”
Governor Mills created the Economic Recovery Committee in May 2020 to develop policy recommendations about the state’s economy in the wake of COVID-19. The committee is comprised of 37 gubernatorial appointees, which include economic experts, industry leaders, nonprofit leaders, workforce advocates, educators and innovators. The other eight members are four designees each from the Legislature and congressional delegation.
The recommendations included in the Committee report emerged from the work of six subcommittees, which examined the following sectors:
Education and Workforce
Healthcare, Nonprofits, Childcare and Support Services
Hospitality, Retail and Tourism
Manufacturing and Natural Resources
The complete committee membership and recordings of each full committee meeting are included on the Economic Recovery Committee’s website: maine.gov/future/economicrecovery.