Forbes, Maine Gov. Agree: Pine Tree State a Problem for Business

Thursday, 20 Dec 2012 11:09 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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It’s official: Maine is the least friendly state in the nation to do business with.
Forbes magazine made that proclamation last week — and now Maine Gov. Paul LePage has seconded it.

“Frankly, I agree with them. I truly agree with them,” LePage told a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Bangor, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“And that’s after two years of struggling to make some changes to make Maine a more business-friendly state, so it just goes to show how much work we have to do.’’

In its seventh annual Best States for Business list, Forbes put Maine at the bottom of the list for the third straight year.

“Maine’s problems run deep. It has the second highest corporate tax burden at 16 percent above the national average, according to Moody’s Analytics,’’ Forbes said.

In addition, the Pine Tree State’s energy costs are 27 percent above the U.S. average, it has the oldest population in the U.S., and headquarters few big businesses, including none of the 1,000 largest American companies by sales, according to Forbes.

Also, “productivity has barely improved the past five years. The 0.2% growth in GSP per employee is the worst in the U.S.’’

LePage echoed the Forbes findings, pointing to high taxes, energy costs, and an aging population as culprits. He said Maine residents pay 24 percent more than the national average for energy, with business spending 14 percent more than businesses in the rest of the nation.

The governor pointed to hydroelectric power and natural gas as key in reducing energy costs.

He also called Maine “the most generous welfare state in the country.’’

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