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  • 25 Apr 2013 2:27 PM | Deleted user

    Governor Urges Town Officials to Work Together to Find Solutions to State Budget Woes

    AUGUSTA – Hoping to encourage municipal officials to offer solutions about the upcoming biennial budget proposal, Governor Paul R. LePage today released a letter to city and town officials. The Governor acknowledges in the letter the opposition many mayors, city managers and selectmen have against his budget plan, and he admits it is not a budget he enjoyed putting forward.

    “The problem is there are only three large budget areas – education, welfare and revenue sharing,” wrote Governor LePage. “We cannot cut $200 million from debt service – the State must pay its bills. The Judicial Branch costs $100 million – courts are already behind, and I will not cut them further. Other core state functions – State Police, Corrections, our Natural Resource agencies – have been cut to the bone to feed continued growth in education and welfare spending, and they cannot be cut further without reducing public safety or our future economy. That leaves only the three large pots of money, and I chose revenue sharing.”

    In the letter, the Governor attached total general fund appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014-15, which shows the bulk of the budget – 44.8 percent – allocated to education. The Department of Health and Human Services uses 35.2 percent, and the remainder of State government accounts for 20 percent of general fund spending.

    Regardless of whether Governor LePage’s proposed cuts are ultimately implemented, Republicans believe local government must participate in making government at all levels more efficient.

    As Mayor of Waterville for eight years, the Governor was able to balance budgets while reducing property taxes. Working together with a Democratic City Council, he was able to decrease spending and lower taxes. A temporary loss in revenue sharing does not mean that property taxes will automatically go up. That is a local choice. It is not impossible for local government to save money, consolidate services and identify priorities.

    “Most letters I receive say we made the wrong choice and that we should restore the $200 million subsidy to municipalities, but they do not suggest other cuts that should be made at the state level,” said Governor LePage. “It is easy to find fault and hard to find solutions. I welcome any suggestions town officials have to cut elsewhere in the state budget, but it is time for everyone to set complaints aside and offer solutions.”

    Governor LePage also extended an offer to assist town and city officials if they need flexibility from the State to reduce their own budgets. “If there are proposals to reduce administration and overhead by sharing services between towns, we will support them,” he said.

  • 25 Apr 2013 2:25 PM | Deleted user

    Energy Office Statement on Natural Gas Service Agreement with Sappi Paper

    AUGUSTA – The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) announced support today for a project that will bring natural gas service to the Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, providing significantly lower energy prices and allowing the mill to become more competitive.

    “I commend Sappi Fine Paper North America for taking this significant initiative to make the Somerset Mill more competitive by lowering its energy costs and, more importantly, for investing as much as $30 million of its capital into Maine’s economy,” said Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock. “We must continue progress in making Maine’s manufacturing sector competitive, and lower energy costs to help the bottom-line for all of Maine’s employers.”

    In addition, Woodcock praised Sappi for its commitment to sustainability by investing in clean, economical natural gas for the mill. “Improving our business climate and lowering pollution are not mutually exclusive goals,” said Woodcock. “Using natural gas help will not only help to ensure the profitability of the mill and create jobs, but it will also be a much better option for the environment.”

    Sappi Fine Paper North Americaundefinedone of Maine’s largest employersundefinedhas reached an agreement in principle with Summit Natural Gas of Maine to benefit from Summit’s proposed $350 million pipeline project. The pipeline will extend from Richmond through the Kennebec Valley to Skowhegan, which will provide the mill with access to efficient natural gas.

  • 24 Apr 2013 9:29 AM | Deleted user

    Governor LePage travels to Montreal to encourage economic growth between Maine and Quebec

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday with Premier of Quebec Pauline Marois to encourage economic development and support job creation between Maine and Province of Quebec. The Premier invited the Governor to Montreal to sign the agreement, which she described as an important collaboration between Maine and Quebec.

    Although Maine and Quebec share a border, as well a common history and culture, this is the first time that the state has entered into such an MOU to strengthen relations with Quebec.

    “I was pleased to meet with Premier Marois to discuss how Maine and Quebec can work together to create jobs and cooperate in the areas of energy, natural resources transportation, border security and culture,” the Governor said. “And I know she was pleased to converse with me in French, which is my native language, and to talk about our shared French-Canadian heritage.”

    The MOU encourages Maine and Quebec to coordinate with their business communities to set up partnerships and implement economic development initiatives. The agreement also encourages an exchange of cross-border solutions for clean energy, such as hydropower and bioenergy, which could lower home heating costs for Maine people”.

    “Le Québec et le Maine partagent non seulement une histoire et un patrimoine, mais également des enjeux et des défis qui présentent des occasions de collaboration importantes. Je me réjouis de la signature de cet accord qui témoigne de notre volonté à travailler ensemble pour assurer le développement de relations qui nous seront mutuellement bénéfiques,” said Premier Marois.

    A Quebec-Maine Joint Committee will be responsible for implementing the agreement.

    In addition to signing the agreement with the Premier, Governor LePage spoke to 150 business leaders at luncheon conference sponsored by The Montreal Council on Foreign Relations. Titled “Maine and Quebec: Opportunities to Stimulate our Economic Relations,” the Governor spoke about economic agenda of Maine, strengthening of business relations with Quebec and business opportunities that Maine can offer Quebec.

  • 23 Apr 2013 9:28 AM | Deleted user
    Governor Announces Co-Chairs for Blue Ribbon Commission

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today the nomination of two members to the Blue Ribbon Commission that will investigate Maine’s unemployment compensation system. Governor LePage announced the Hon. George M. Jabar and the Hon. Daniel Wathen will co-chair the Commission.

    The Hon. George Jabar currently serves as a Commissioner for Kennebec County and is a practicing attorney in Waterville. He has been a partner in the firm of Jabar, Batten, Ringer & LaLiberty since 1982 and has held leadership positions in a number of community organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono and the New England School of Law.

    The Hon. Daniel Wathen served for 20 years on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, ten of which as the Chief Justice. He has served as a Justice of the Maine Superior Court. In private practice, Judge Wathen practiced both trial and transactional law and, more recently, as arbitrator, mediator, and court assigned special master. He is a graduate of Ricker College and the University of Maine School of Law where he served as editor-in-chief of the Maine Law Review.

    To maintain balance and impartiality, the Blue Ribbon Commission will include representatives of both employers and employees. The goal of the Commission is to ensure Maine’s Unemployment Insurance system provides benefits for workers who are rightly entitled to them, while ensuring businesses are not charged when they appropriately let employees go. Additionally, the Commission will review the rules and laws governing the system to assure Mainers they are consistently applied.

    “Both of these men bring integrity and impeccable credentials to a Commission that will be tasked with taking an in-depth look at the state’s entire unemployment compensation system to make sure that it is fair and consistent for all Mainers,” Governor LePage said. “It is my responsibility to ensure Mainers we have a system that is doing what it is designed to do: administer unemployment compensation in a judicious way that benefits both employers and employees."

  • 18 Apr 2013 11:19 AM | Deleted user

    'Welcome ME' is a Free and Comprehensive Online Customer Service Training Tool for all Maine Businesses

    By Jaimie Logan, Governor's Account Executive

    Maine Department of Economic and Community Development

    Employers have a number of resources at their disposal throughout Maine to assist them with their business, and it's my job as a Governor's Account Executive to recommend and help find those resources. From business planning to permitting to a variety of incentive and marketing programs, businesses across the state benefit and find themselves more competitive. However, one of the most critical tools for business success is too often overlooked, and that's customer service training.

    Fortunately, Maine is lucky to have a free, web-based customer service training and certification program called "Welcome ME." Originally created to support Maine's hospitality and tourism industry, Welcome ME offers a consistent, accessible, certified training program for enhancing customer service delivery across all industries.

    Available at, Welcome ME is a statewide certification program that uses interactive components including a mix of videos filmed with Maine people in Maine locations, learning exercises, and short quizzes to reinforce key concepts. Successful users earn (and can print) a certificate of completion endorsed by the University of Maine, Maine Woods Consortium and Maine Office of Tourism.

    Amy Lent, Executive Director of the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, recently asked her staff to take the course and now recommends the program for all business owners and employees.

    "I found the Welcome ME program to be a quick and easy way to establish a uniform understanding of expectations for customer service," said Lent. "For those who have worked in customer service industries before, the program provides a great refresher; for those who may not have a customer service background, the program offers valuable tools for understanding and implementing key concepts."

    Customer service is a foundation for business success. No matter how good the product or attraction, poor customer service can result in lost customers, sales and bookings. Social media has made it incredibly easy for customers to share their negative experiences.

    Good customer service can set a company apart, build customer loyalty and increase tips. People want to do business with companies who value them. Research shows that excellent customer service is critical to business success:*

    • 86 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience.
    • For every customer complaint, there are 26 other customers who have remained silent.
    • 91 percent of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with your organization again.
    • Attracting a new customer costs 5 times as much as keeping an existing one.
    • A 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent.
    • Companies that make customer service a high priority see 12 times the return on sales than companies with a low emphasis on service.
    • 80 percent of companies are convinced they provide a superior customer experience, while only 8 percent of their customers agree.

    Welcome ME provides the tools along with access to resources for all of Maine's citizens, whether they work directly in tourism or interact with visitors in other ways. Their goal is to better serve our guests.

    This training is offered at no charge for anyone wishing to improve service skills and engage with others in more successful ways. After completing the approximately hour-long, four-part program, an assessment will check your skill level. With successful demonstration of knowledge about quality service you will be able to print a certificate of completion as a symbol of your expertise and knowledge about the delivery of the key success factors of service.

    For a small investment in time and regardless of your industry, Welcome ME is sure to benefit your business and those you serve. To take the course, please visit

    *Sources: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report; Lee Resources, Inc.; Bain & Co.; International Customer Service Association; Cvent

    Jaimie Logan is a Governor's Account Executive with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development in Augusta. Account Executives work as business liaisons to the economic development resources throughout the state and serve as the point of contact for businesses that might need assistance with programs, policies, funding and awareness of state resources. Her service territory includes Knox, Waldo, Lincoln and Penobscot Counties. Jaimie can be reached by email at And for a complete list of the Governor's Account Executives, please visit

  • 18 Apr 2013 9:42 AM | Deleted user
    Governor LePage Announces Blue Ribbon Commission to Investigate Unemployment Compensation System

    AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today he will sign an executive order to establish a Blue Ribbon Commission that will investigate Maine’s entire unemployment compensation system.

    “Politically motivated demands for the U.S. Department of Labor to investigate a lunch meeting I had with hearings officers are based on anonymous allegations in media reports,” said Governor LePage. “This orchestrated effort is designed to distract Mainers from the real issue, which is inconsistencies in the unemployment system. But I remain focused on assuring Mainers that there is fair and consistent application of the law throughout the process. That’s why I am calling for an all-encompassing investigation of the entire system.”

    To maintain balance and impartiality, the Blue Ribbon Commission will include representatives of both employers and employees. The goal of the Commission is to ensure Maine’s Unemployment Insurance system provides benefits for workers who are rightly entitled to them, while ensuring businesses are not charged when they appropriately let employees go. Additionally, the Commission will review the rules and laws governing the system to assure Mainers they are consistently applied.

    “Let’s take an in-depth look at the state’s entire unemployment compensation system to make sure that it is fair and consistent for all Mainers,” Governor LePage said. “We welcome the opportunity to examine the system and make sure it is doing what it is designed to do: administer unemployment compensation in a judicious way that benefits both employers and employees. The people of Maine deserve to know that their system works for everyone.”

  • 17 Apr 2013 1:18 PM | Deleted user
    Healthy Community Coalition of Greater Franklin County is now offering informational brochures to
    Community Organizations and businesses. Some topics include: tobacco, prescription drugs, alcohol,
    marijuana, lead, nutrition, and others! If you work at a Community Organization or business and you
    would like to provide this information to the community or staff, please contact Christine Bruen at 207-
    779-2927 or by email at Together we can make a difference!
  • 17 Apr 2013 1:12 PM | Deleted user

    Mainebiz honors its 2013 Business Leaders of the Year

    at the Governor Hill Mansion on May 9th

    Mainebiz will host a reception on May 9th to honor its 2013 Maine Business Leaders of the Year: Sara Burns, President and CEO of Central Maine Power Co. represents the large company category; David Desjardins, President and CEO of Acadia Federal Credit Union, represents the small business category; and Dana Totman, President and CEO of Avesta Housing, represents the nonprofit category.

    The Business Leaders of the Year reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta. Tickets are $40. The Maine Business Leaders of the Year recognition program issponsored by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, People’s United Bank, Pro Search and Verrill Dana.For more information or to register, visit

  • 17 Apr 2013 11:54 AM | Deleted user

    Maine’s First Lady Will Open the Third Annual York County Job Fair

    SPRINGVALEundefinedFirst Lady Ann M. LePage will give opening remarks at the Third Annual York County Job Fair on Friday, April 19. More than 60 employers are scheduled to participate. The job fair will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Nasson Community Center, 457 Main Street in Springvale.

    “I’m thankful for the opportunity to speak with employers in Southern Maine,” Ann LePage said. “This job fair includes valuable resources for veterans as well as workshops for all job seekers. There is truly something for everyone whether they are seeking training opportunities or a new career.”

    Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette will introduce the First Lady, who will speak at about 9:50 a.m., just prior to the doors opening to the public.

    The Maine Department of Labor, the York County CareerCenter, the York County Maine Military Community Network, Sanford Regional Technical Center, York County Community College, the Sanford/Springvale Chamber of Commerce and Goodwill Workforce Solutions sponsor the job fair.

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