Hello and welcome to this week’s fireside chat. I’m Dana Dow, the Republican Leader in the Maine Senate.
For many years now, Republicans in Augusta have worked hard on behalf of Maine citizens, and I am proud to report that our hard work has paid off.
We are entering the New Year in a great position – an improved position of prosperity. This hasn’t always been the case. Eight years ago, we inherited a budget deficit of $800 million. Taxes were too high, our bills weren’t being paid and we had no savings to speak of. To put it simply, our State Government was living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Thankfully that is not the case today. Through hard work and a lot of tough decisions, Republicans were able change the course we were on.
Today, we are in a much more desirable position, ending 2018 on a high note with a $273 million surplus in the rainy day fund. I am happy to report that Maine families and businesses are better off than they were eight years ago. Our unemployment level has reached a record-low and we have a record-high number of employers providing quality, good-paying jobs.
As we begin 2019, with a new legislature and a new governor, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the progress that has been made. We can’t return to the days of overspending and overtaxing. We must continue to stimulate our economy by reining in unnecessary spending and continuing to reduce the tax liability on Maine families and businesses to encourage future growth.
I often talk about Maine’s changing demographics. While the very southern tip of our state is prosperous, much of our state is hemorrhaging residents as young folks are leaving and have already left to find greener pastures elsewhere.
I agree with Governor Mills that we want to welcome home former Maine residents. As a Republican, I also want to welcome home Maine businesses that chose to leave amid over-regulation and tax policies of the past.
We need to continue to send the message that Maine is “open for business” and we must do everything we can to provide opportunities for our children and grandchildren so they can stay here in Maine.
So in the spirit of the season, I will share my New Year’s resolutions with you.
I resolve to look out for the interest of Maine people and taxpayers over the course of the 129th Legislature.
I resolve to work with anyone and everyone to achieve this mission, regardless of which party they belong to.
And I resolve to lead my caucus and represent all constituents with an open door, and most importantly, an open mind.
That concludes this week’s fireside chat. Thank you for listening and may God bless you.