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Special Edition

2010

THE CHAMBER NEWS

WHAT WE STAND FOR Even if we don’t always agree on the means, most Mainers and Androscoggin County residents agree that we need a healthy business community to grow the economy that will ensure residents have stable, well-paying jobs with comprehensive benefits. The Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce believes that there has not been adequate progress on policy changes and investments necessary for the future economic prosperity of our State. We must reduce the cost of doing business in Maine so that we can compete nationally and globally. During 2009, Maine faced the most difficult economic challenges of the last 50 years. Yet, it is at times like these that we have the opportunity to better position ourselves for the future. In 2010, Maine will face a number of grave challenges and how we respond to them will shape our State for the next generation.

CHALLENGES FACING MAINE •

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Health insurance costs are second highest in the nation, largely the result of expensive legislative mandates and cost shifting by medical providers. Excessive cost of health insurance prevents Mainers (and Maine employers) from purchasing coverage leaving greater numbers of Mainers uninsured or underinsured and unable to pay for medical care. Over half of Maine college graduates live out of state after graduation. Sixty six percent of those considered to be Maine’s “best and brightest” have left and are not likely to return. The high cost of electricity in Maine takes a larger chunk out of incomes of residents and businesses than elsewhere in the country. Auburn is the largest container port in Maine, yet the Maine DOT recently released a draft report entitled, Moving People and Goods, The Governor’s Rail and Port Investment Plan that does not adequately meet our region’s transportation needs. Once a national leader in small business growth, Maine’s new business start-ups and business in migration are in decline. Maine is a high tax state, especially when measured against per capita income. Perennial budget deficits have reached crisis levels. The Legislature has balanced Maine’s budget without raising taxes, but has not been able to set priorities for identifying expenditure and program cuts. Government at all levels in Maine need to reexamine and reinvent what they do, finding new, more cost-effective ways to deliver essential services. By all generally accepted national measures, Maine has one of the poorest “business climates” in the nation.

Maine has the highest average age of any state in the nation and our workforce-age population will stop growing in 2012. A generous social safety net, which includes the highest level of Medicaid benefits in the nation, encourages in-migration of populations seeking to take advantage of Maine’s low-barrier social support system Despite ever increasing expenditures, outcomes for all levels of Maine students continue to lag national averages. Maine’s roads and bridges—the lifeline for transportation in our State—continue to deteriorate due to under funding of maintenance and replacement. Maine’s retirees, particularly those more well-off financially, are compelled to establish residency in other states with more favorable tax and estate laws, depriving Maine of both revenue sources and the energy and vitality those retirees bring to local cultural and civic activities. Maine is characterized by a high quality of life; yet we do not consistently support actions that strengthen a clean and healthy environment, attract and keep residents, stimulate private investment, and create needed jobs. In What We Stand For – 2010, we recommend a series of strategies for tax and fiscal policy changes, health care reform, education and workforce training, energy efficiency, environmental protection, and transportation systems improvements. We believe our state is at a critical turning point in history. We must reposition ourselves to ensure economic survival for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.


Tax and Fiscal Policy — Make Maine Businesses Competitive •

Build on recently enacted state fiscal restructuring until Maine’s per capita tax burden is 25th in the nation by the year 2015. Establish financial and performance benchmarks to measure Maine’s performance against peer states and to identify areas where improvements and cost savings can be achieved. (performance budgeting) Require performance budgeting in local governments and education systems and have them establish financial and service performance benchmarks in line with those of comparable governments. Institute performance measurement systems at all levels of government so that elected officials and the public can measure and compare real outcomes of government action. Consolidate or eliminate state, county, and municipal government activities where redundancies exist. Use both financial incentives and penalties to encourage consolidation and regionalization. Create a citizen commission to methodically review the structure and operations of state government and propose specific reforms to produce efficiencies and savings. In this process, the commission will present a report to the Legislature of specific operational changes and the cost savings they will produce. That report will then need to be voted on as a single package to eliminate political tradeoffs which would diminish its impact. Encourage partnerships between businesses and their local governments to evaluate local services and establish a system of performance and financial accountability.

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and require guaranteed policy renewal thus prohibiting and pricing of policies based on health status. Retain the tax deductibility of healthcare plans, procedures and benefits, and provide for the full tax deductibility of individual health insurance costs. Reduce the cost of healthcare delivery systems by reforming the payment and reimbursement system, including changing the “fee for services” model which encourages and rewards unnecessary procedures. Encourage consumers and providers to accumulate relevant information and use it to improve health. Reforms should emphasize the development of wellness, prevention, and disease management programs and should reward individuals who practice healthy lifestyles. Improve the efficiency of the healthcare system by requiring increased use of information technology. Reform payment systems to emphasize outcomes and quality, not units of service provided. Consumers need to be empowered with information about treatment options, costs, and provider satisfaction rates. Institute medical liability reform that eliminates the need for physicians and healthcare providers to practice “defensive” medicine. Create a system to identify the major cost drivers in health care and develop policy options to lower costs.

If federal healthcare reform does not address the high cost of health insurance in Maine in comparison with other states the Legislature must make it a priority to address that imbalance. The following measures would help Maine bring its costs in line with those of other states:

1. Discontinue Dirigo Choice which continues to drain resources that are better used elsewhere. 2. Establish a risk pool for high care cost individuals. 3. Reduce cost shifting by requiring fair and timely Medicare and MaineCare payments for hospitals, As we write “What We Stand For - 2010,” Congress is in the skilled nursing facilities, mental health providers, and midst of considering a sweeping change in national health home health agencies. care policy. To be effective, changes must lower overall 4. Adjust MaineCare benefits so that they do not health care costs and in so doing bring down the costs of compete with private insurance plans resulting in health insurance. Clearly we believe this is a national covered employees dropping employer sponsored problem that requires a national solution which results in insurance to be covered by MaineCare. coverage for all Americans. There are several policies being 5. Encourage individuals to make their own health considered that we strongly support: care decisions based on quality of care and costs. • Require that all individuals have some form of health Promote healthy lifestyles through education and insurance. incentives for individuals to live responsibly. • Reform health care to alleviate the limitations that state 6. Implement cost containing strategies such as boundaries and treatment mandates place on competitivemalpractice reform, streamlined claims processing, ness. Consumers should have many choices among and creation of local clinics to do preventative insurers and providers. screenings and respond to minor health care • Eliminate insurance regulations on pre-existing conditions problems.

Health Care Reform - Reducing the Burden on Employers and Employees


Education and Workforce Training Create Workforce-Ready Students •

Allocate resources to create and adequately fund pre-K education and clinical services so that all Maine students start kindergarten ready to learn. Change school policies to ensure that students receive appropriate and significant support when they do not meet required performance standards. Continue to support effective learning and drop-out prevention programs such as early college, efforts to eliminate bullying, special support for homeless youth, preparation for English language learners, and adult education programs which encourage continued workforce development. Evaluate education systems and educators (teachers and administrators) on four key results: (1) student performance; (2) satisfaction of post-secondary schools with student preparation; (3) satisfaction of local employers with student preparation; and (4) students being prepared for and finding jobs in Maine. Institute pilot programs to encourage school innovation and reward successes including charter schools to make eligible for some types of federal funding. Hold post-secondary institutions accountable for the retention of first-year students and remunerate them accordingly. Encourage state and local organizations to support programs that dramatically increase college attainment by Maine residents. Build support systems to increase the preparation of English language learners to compete in the local labor market. Hold the line on tuition costs at public higher education institutions. This will necessitate organization, curricular, and operational restructuring.

Transportation Systems - Moving People and Goods Efficiently • Make substantial public investments in rail and related

facilities for movement of both freight and passengers. Push for plan to link Portland and Montreal by rail along the route through Auburn and Oxford County. • Improve and expand access to the Maine Turnpike • Allocate more resources to reconstruction and repair of Maine’s roads and bridges.

Energy Efficiency - Lowering business costs and saving $$$ •

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Promote and support investment in alternate energy research and encourage development of natural gas, tidal, geothermal, hydro, wind and solar projects throughout Maine. Design strategic alternative energy development and conservation policies by 2012 that will put Maine on the path to energy self-sufficiency. Continue to support state and local efforts to implement the new Uniform Building and Energy code. Reduce the cost of electricity to Maine businesses and individuals. Utilize energy produced in Maine to meet the state’s own energy needs.

Environmental Protection Protecting Maine's economic assets • Use a mix of public and private resources, including the Land For Maine’s Future Program, to protect land that enhances our scenic landscapes, farmland and open space, and low-impact recreation. • Develop recreational assets that complement efforts to revitalize our downtowns and historic assets, focusing on land and water trails along the Androscoggin River. • Continue to improve the water quality of the Androscoggin River to meet at least the Class C standards. • Encourage development in areas with existing infrastructure using TIF’s as originally designed and minimize the regulatory burden in those areas.


THE CHAMBER

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID LEWISTON, ME PERMIT #27

Business Service Center at KeyBank Plaza PO Box 59 Lewiston, ME 04243-0059 www.androscoggincounty.com

The Board of Directors gratefully acknowledges the following members of the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee for their assistance in preparing this document: Peter Traill, Co-Chair Clifton Greim, Co-Chair Glen Aho

Ronald Lebel

Dan Smiley

Dick Albert

Dan Mynahan

John Snyder

Maureen Aube

Chip Morrison

Linda Snyder

Art Boulay

Phil Nadeau

Peter Steele

Mike Carey

Guy Orne

Robert Thompson

Chris DeMerchant

Van Perry

Barbara Trafton

Carl Duchette

Iman Poeraatmadja

Marlee Turner

Hillary Eaton

Cindy Quinlan

Ralph Wallace

Patti Gagne

Mark Samson

Jim Wellehan

Lucien Gosselin

Peter Sassano

Jim Wilkins

Elaine Hemenway

David Scobey

Bud Willey

Jonathan LaBonte

2010

THE CHAMBER NEWS “WHAT WE STAND FOR"


Bruce

Brian

Michael

Richard

Dale

Margaret

Stacy

James

L. Gary

Michael

John

John

Margaret

Deborah

Larry

Nancy

David

Richard

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Rep.

Rep.

Rep.

Rep.

Sen.

Rep.

Rep.

Rep.

Rep.

Sen.

Rep.

Rep.

Sen.

Rep.

Rep.

Rep.

Rep.

*Party Affiliation

Michael

Rep.

Title Name

Wagner

Van Wie

Smith

Sirois

Simpson

Rotundo

Robinson

Nutting

Lajoie

Knight

Hamper

Dostie

Craven

Crafts

Cebra

Carey

Bolduc

Bickford

Beaulieu

D

D

D

D

D

D

R

D

D

R

R

D

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D

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District 73

District 105

District 80

District 96

District 15

District 74

District 103

District 17

District 71

District 81

District 100

District 75

District 16

District 104

District 101

District 72

District 69

District 70

District 68

*P District

2nd

1st

4th

2nd

1st

1st

3rd

3nd

1st

2nd

2nd

1st

1st

1st

3rd

2nd

1st

1st

2nd

26 Mountain Ave

292 Town Farm Rd

259 Tillson Rd

87 Potato Rd

551 Turner St

446 College St

15 Cranberry Pond Rd

79 Campbell Rd

279 Old Green Road

453 Moose Hill Rd

1023 King Street

674 Sabattus Road

41 Russell St

2 Passing Lane

15 Steamboat Landing

45 Pleasant Street

54 Riverside Drive

64 Cameron Lane

27 Sherman Ave

Term Address

Local Legislative Delegation

Lewiston

New Gloucester

Monmouth

Turner

Auburn

Lewiston

Raymond

Leeds

Lewiston

Livermore Falls

Oxford

Sabattus

Lewiston

Lisbon Falls

Naples

Lewiston

Auburn

Auburn

Auburn

City

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

ME

04240

04260

04259

04282

04210

04240

04071

04263

04240

04254

04270

04280

04240

04252

04055

04240

04210

04210

04210

State Zip

784-0645

926-3568

933-2707

225-3316

777-1379

784-3259

655-8657

524-3941

783-1927 (c) 713-7119

897-2489

539-4586

375-8809

783-1879

353-5469

693-4951

344-3017

576-4907

795-6844

784-0036

RepRichard.Wagner@legislature.maine.gov rwagner@bates.edu

RepDavid.VanWie@legislature.maine.gov

RepNancy.smith@legislature.maine.gov

RepLarry.Sirois@legislature.maine.gov

Deborah.Simpson@legislature.maine.gov deborah.simpson4@verizon.net

mrotundo@bates.edu

RepJohn.Robinson@legislaturemaine.gov

senjohn.nutting@legislature.maine.gov

lajoie1@midmaine.com

RepGary.Knight@legislature.maine.gov LGary.Knight@usa.net

RepJames.Hamper@legislature.maine.gov

stacy@dmatter.com

mcraven@midmaine.com RepMargaret.Craven@legislature.maine.gov

dalecrafts@aol.com

reprich.cebra@legislature.maine.gov

RepMichael.Carey@legislature.maine.gov

bolduc74@yahoo.com

bick0585@aol.com

RepMike.Beaulieu@legislature.maine.gov mike@mikeformaine.org

Phone E-Mail

Education and Cultural Affairs

Utilities and Energy

Chair, Business, Research & Economic Development, Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry

Taxation

Chair, State and Local Government, Chair, Government Oversight Committee Natural Resources

Appropriations & Financial Affairs, Government Oversight Committee

Appropriations & Financial Affairs

Chair, Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, Criminal Justice and Public Safety

Criminal Justice and Public Safety

Taxation

Labor, Natural Resources

Utilities and Energy

Appropriations & Financial Affairs

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Transportation

Legal and Veterans Affairs, Transportation

Natural Resources

Labor, Government Oversight Committee

Judiciary, Legal and Veterans Affairs

Committees


What We Stand For 2010