Governor Janet Mills delivered her State of the Budget Address on Tuesday evening. Governor Janet Mills announced that her Administration is focused on health care, education, and the Maine economy, saying that her budget proposals maintain stability in these areas during this time of uncertainty and put Maine on a path to economic recovery. Governor Mills highlighted proposed investments in Maine’s public health infrastructure and education funding to support Maine children.
To accelerate Maine’s economic recovery, get people back to work and diversify Maine’s economy, Governor Mills also announced that, in the coming weeks, her Administration will present to the Legislature a “Back to Work” bond proposal. The proposal draws on Maine’s 10-year Strategic Economic Development Plan as well as recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee.
The Governor previewed some of the proposal, including:
Expanding Broadband: $30 million to expand broadband across Maine, building on the Governor’s successful efforts last year to secure $15 million in new funding for broadband;
Developing the Workforce: $25 million for equipment for Maine Career and Technical Education programs and a partnership with Maine’s Community College System to train skilled workers to fill jobs in high-growth industries;
Supporting Innovation in Heritage Industries: $50 million for Maine farmers, foresters, and fishermen to increase local processing infrastructure, improve access to markets, and invest in innovation to modernize and add value to products grown, caught, and cultured here in Maine;
Increasing Childcare: $6 million for grants and low interest loans to renovate, expand, or construct childcare facilities and increase the availability of childcare slots, with half of that money going to underserved communities in rural Maine.
The Back to Work proposal will also include investments in roads and bridges, working lands and waterfronts, research and development, and energy efficiency.
The Governor also announced that in the coming months her Administration will launch a pilot of the Maine Career Exploration Program, a recommendation of Maine’s 10-year Economic Development Plan, in Franklin and Somerset counties to provide scholarships and paid internships for local students with local employers.
The Governor’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are as follows and are attached (PDF). The video file of her address, which was pre-recorded on Monday, February 22, 2021, is available for download.