Prosperity Maine: MECEP Annual State Tax and Budget Conference

(AUGUSTA ME) The Maine Center for Economic Policy will host a forum at the Augusta Civic Center on Monday, January 8, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on developing a policy agenda to achieve a prosperous Maine economy. The conference will open with remarks by Governor John Baldacci followed by a presentation from Rebecca Wyke, commissioner of the Department of Administrative & Financial Services, on the Governor’s 08-09 budget.

The keynote address will be delivered by Iris Lav, economist and deputy director of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Lav will present her research examining best practice fiscal policies from around the nation and will offer recommendations for Maine.

Ms. Lav’s address will be followed by a four-person panel titled: Investing for Prosperity, focusing on investments needed to spread prosperity to Maine’s most rural counties. David Vail, economist from Bowdoin College, will discuss a vision to upgrade tourism services. David Hartley, economist from the Muskie School, will discuss the importance of the healthcare sector for employment in rural areas and the opportunities and challenges this presents. Douglas Allan Dunlap from the Franklin County Community College Network will discuss innovations in adult workforce development occurring in Franklin County.  Mike Eisensmith from the Northern Maine Development Commission will discuss economic development activity in Aroostook County and the investments being made through the Aroostook Partnership for Progress.

The afternoon sessions will focus on taxes beginning with a presentation by Michael Allen, director for the Division of Econometric Research at Maine Revenue Services, on the distribution of taxes across Maine residents and businesses.  This will be followed by a legislative panel discussing tax reform,  including Representative Thom Watson, Senator Peter Mills, and Representative Richard Woodbury.  

The final presentation of the day will be a panel titled: “Moving Forward Together,” focused on how legislative leadership will work together to advance policies to achieve shared prosperity during the 123rd legislative session.  Panelists include Senate President Beth Edmonds, Senate Minority Leader Carol Weston, House Speaker Glenn Cummings, and House Minority Leader Joshua Tardy.