Gov. Mills unveils plan to spur economic recovery, achieve long-term economic growth

Tue, 05/04/2021 - 2:45pm

    AUGUSTA — Governor Janet Mills unveiled Tuesday the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, her Administration’s proposal to invest more than $1 billion in discretionary federal relief funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan Act.

    The Governor’s plan makes historic investments in unaddressed needs and longstanding challenges to achieve three goals:

    1. immediate economic recovery from the pandemic;
    2. long-term economic growth for Maine; and
    3. infrastructure revitalization.

    The plan accomplishes these goals by supporting Maine small businesses and heritage industries, encouraging new businesses and job creation through innovation and entrepreneurship, and investing in essential infrastructure – broadly defined as roads and bridges, broadband, affordable housing, and child care – to keep and attract young families.

    The plan draws heavily on recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee and the State’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy, transforming these best-made plans into real action to improve the lives of our people and to strengthen the economy.

    “This Federal funding represents an unprecedented opportunity to address the longstanding challenges that have constrained our state’s ability to thrive over the years. By encouraging innovative small business growth, investing in our workforce, and building essential infrastructure, like housing, child care and broadband, we can accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and build a stronger, more prosperous Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This plan will help us ensure that Maine is renowned as a place where you can get a good education, have a rewarding career that pays well, raise a happy and healthy family, and live comfortably in a community that you love.”

    In total, the American Rescue Plan Act invests approximately $4.5 billion in Maine. Of this $4.5 billion, Congress has directly committed nearly $3.2 billion to various recovery efforts, including significant support for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, enhanced unemployment benefits, stimulus payments to families, and funds for businesses, counties and municipalities, education, behavioral health, child care, and more.

    The remaining $1.13 billion is allocated to the State of to Maine to respond to the pandemic and support economic recovery. The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan aims to complement, not duplicate, funding already specifically committed by Congress to other recovery efforts.

    To that same end, the Mills Administration is also preparing a bond proposal and a supplemental budget, or “part two budget,” proposal for the next biennium. While these proposals are different and will be offered separately, they aim to complement one another to maximize impact and ensure robust and widespread economic recovery and growth.

    The Mills Administration will present the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to the Legislature. By offering the plan now, the Governor hopes to engage in a robust, bipartisan discussion with the Legislature about the transformational opportunity presented by the funds, take into consideration the forthcoming guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury, and prepare for swift and decisive action to continue Maine’s economic recovery and achieve long-term growth for Maine people, businesses and communities. Funding under the plan can be deployed through 2024.

    Goal 1: Immediate Economic Recovery ($260M)

    Provide Recovery Grants & Loan Guarantees ($80M)

    Invest in Heritage Industries ($50M)

    Lower Health Care Costs for Small Businesses ($39M)

    Replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund ($80M)

    Sustain New Businesses and Entrepreneurs ($8M)

    Encourage Business Diversity ($3M)

    Goal 2: Long-term Economic Growth ($305M)

    Make Strategic Investments for Future Prosperity

    Jumpstart Innovation ($80M)

    Launch Health Workforce Initiative ($15M)

    Create Clean Energy Partnerships: ($8M)

    Establish A Domestic Trade Program ($15M)

    Expand and Strengthen Maine’s Workforce

    Attract and Retain Workers ($18M)

    Expand the Maine Career Exploration Program ($28M)

    Create the Remote Worker Welcome Program ($5M)

    Train Workers Through Maine’s CTEs & Higher Education Systems ($105M)

    Advance Equity ($8M)

    Connect Workers to Job Opportunities ($15M)

    Regulatory Reform

    Increase Licensing Efficiency ($8M)

    Goal 3: Infrastructure Revitalization ($547M)

    Build Out Family Infrastructure:

    Establish the Maine Connectivity Authority to Achieve Universally Available Broadband ($150M)

    Build More Affordable Housing for Maine’s Workforce ($50M)

    Save Money Through Energy Efficiency ($50M)

    Expand Childcare & Early Childhood Infrastructure ($20M)

    Invest in Transportation Improvements:

    Fix Maine Roads and Bridges Through the 2021 Capital Work Plan ($50M)

    Protect Infrastructure from Climate Change ($20M)

    Launch A Workforce Transportation Pilot ($5M)

    Expand Municipal and Public EV Charging ($8M)

    Invest in Outdoor Recreation & Marine Resources

    Upgrade Maine State Parks ($50M)

    Bolster Fisheries and Wildlife Infrastructure ($20M)

    Improve Fishing Industry Infrastructure & Monitoring ($16M)

    Support Essential Drinking and Wastewater Projects

    Ensure the Safety of Drinking Water ($25M)

    Repair Wastewater Infrastructure ($25M)

    Facilitate Energy Needs

    Create Interconnection Grants ($8M)

    Modernize State Technology

    Upgrade Government Systems, Accessibility, and Cybersecurity Protections ($50M)

    The proposal also includes $20 million to cover administration and successful deployment of funds.