AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell has released a job-creation plan for Maine that includes green-energy investments, help for small businesses that face laying off employees and borrowing for critical transportation, infrastructure and research and development.
The plan Mitchell released Monday calls for an economic council that would identify promising opportunities for economic growth. It would bring together business, education and government to get the job done, she said. Economic development funds would focus on sectors of Maine business that are succeeding in leveraging the state's competitive advantage, such as composites, biotechnology and tourism, Mitchell said.
She also calls for a "Farm and Bait to Plate" program requiring that at least 25 percent of the food served in Maine schools, prisons and other state facilities be locally grown or harvested. It also encourages Maine-grown food in day cares, hospitals and nursing homes.
In addition, Mitchell, the current state Senate president, proposed an expansion of the Seed Capital Tax Credit, which encourages investments in eligible Maine businesses, directly and through private venture capital funds.
Saying Maine small businesses and entrepreneurs lack management-level experience, Mitchell said she would work to enact a Management for Maine program to promote management and training skills.
Mitchell presented her proposals Monday, the same day as Republican rival Paul LePage unveiled his own job-creation strategy.
Among LePage's ideas is an "EZ Pass" strategy that would speed up new business requests and snip red tape and regulations that he believes throw up roadblocks. He also wants to build on educational reforms with a "Learn to Earn Program" that would allow students to begin earning college credits while in high school and put more emphasis on training in technical fields.