15 July 2020: Priorities to stabilize and support Maine’s economy

Covid cases by state: Maine

I want to offer this update from the state’s Economic Recovery Committee, on which I am appointed to serve by Speaker Gideon.

On July 2 the committee conveyed a letter to the Governor outlining our sense of the state’s most urgent priorities expressed these priorities within three themes:

  • Education support, with emphasis on guidance for the measures necessary for a safe return to in-person instruction in the fall for K-12 education, childcare, and higher education
  • Direct economic relief for struggling small businesses and non-profit organizations
  • Investment in the state’s broadband action plan

Today, the Committee sent to the Governor its first official set of recommendations directed toward stabilizing and supporting the economy with currently available resources.

Totaling just over a billion dollars, these recommendations are outlined as follows:

  • People: $497M
    • $20M for public health system for vulnerable populations and PPE
    • $45M for child care and after school care
      • Grants for open programs ($10M)
      • Funding for stabilizing programs with reduced enrollments ($10M)
      • Expansion of out-of-school and after-school programs ($25M)
    • $300M for safety measures and other costs of operations in K-12 schools
    • $75M for higher education costs of adaptation
    • $50M for housing assistance
      • Rehousing programs for homeless ($5M)
      • Rental assistance and eviction prevention ($45M)
    • $7M in supports for immigrants
  • Businesses: $430M
    • $350M in direct relief in grants via DECD and FAME
      • Small businesses ($300M)
      • Nonprofits ($50M)
    • $50M in capital for business innovation to be awarded competitively
    • $30M for workforce development through higher education, community colleges, and apprenticeship programs
  • Infrastructure: $165M
    • $65M for broadband expansion
      • Unserved or underserved homes and businesses ($60M)
      • Mapping ($5M)
    • $100M bond for further broadband, transportation, and economic development in support of making Maine a safe and attractive place for remote working and innovation.

ECONOMIC SUPPORT AND STABILIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS, Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee, July 15, 2020

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