Re: “Commentary: It’s time to invest in Maine” (Dec. 5):
I believe the authors (Coastal Enterprises CEO Betsy Biemann and President Keith Bisson) miss an important point with regard to business formation in Maine. In addition to investing, state and local governments need to work on developing laws and regulations that foster a business-friendly environment. As former Sen. Paul Tsongas once said, “You can’t be pro-jobs and anti-business.”
Case in point, look at what has happened in California recently. Tesla, Hewlett Packard and Charles Schwab have all left the state, taking thousands of jobs with them, to relocate in Texas. This is because of the adversarial relationship between the businesses and the state of California.
Closer to home, look at the recent referenda passed in Portland. Specially, the $18-per-hour hazard wage and rent control. The burden that the $18-per-hour wage will put on local small businesses will be crushing and put them at a disadvantage to businesses in nearby cities. For example, the new Rock Row development in Westbrook might be a tempting place for businesses to relocate. Why would any developer ever want to consider building apartments in Portland now that rent control will be in effect? Rent increases are limited to the rate of inflation, while the city of Portland’s annual property tax increases can greatly exceed this metric.
To foster long-term economic growth for Maine, we need policies that are supportive of business formation. If this is done, in addition to support of business investment, then Maine will have a win-win policy for both businesses and Maine workers.