MECEP economist Joel Johnson recently spoke with MaineBiz about his predictions for the New Year.
Joel forecast slow, unbalanced economic growth in 2015. Households will get a break from lower gasoline and home heating oil costs in the short-term. But unemployment will still be stagnant in rural Maine. Job growth will not match that of 2014, with about 6,000 new jobs projected, keeping Maine stuck in the doldrums nearly six years since the recession ended.
Joel also cautioned against Governor LePage’s proposed income tax cuts for high-wage earners. He said:
“Maine’s economy is heavily influenced by global market forces, changes in technology, trade policy and federal fiscal and monetary policy. But state policy still matters. We can’t cut our way to prosperity. Cutting income taxes for high-income and wealthy folks while giving big corporations costly subsidies paid for by wage-earning Mainers and small business owners is the wrong prescription. We must invest in Maine people and communities in ways that build a better-educated, healthier and more productive workforce; a fairer tax system that demands accountability and puts more money in the pockets of middle-class Mainers; and top-notch infrastructure that helps Maine businesses and entrepreneurs compete. With LePage in office for four more years, expect continued underinvestment in these areas, which will jeopardize current and future prospects for grow.”
MaineBiz is a business news and analysis media organization. In addition to Joel, they spoke with four other Maine economists. Here’s their article.