July State Revenue Over Projection

Due to higher than anticipated revenues generated by income and sales taxes, the state’s current budget year is off to a strong start. Maine’s increased revenues are consistent with the overall national economic trend.  

Maine Manufacturing Profiled

A recent comprehensive look at Maine’s manufacturing sector by the Bangor Daily News indicates that overall, state manufacturing levels are stable.  Due to new technology and increased skills, production is up even while employment levels have declined.  One of the big challenges facing Maine’s manufacturing industry will be attracting highly skilled employees to a field where employment has been declining for a period of time.   

Question 1 Set for November

The wording for question 1, a citizens’ initiative, on the November referendum ballot has been set and is as follows: 

· Do you want to change Maine law to allow publicly financed state candidates to qualify for additional funds under certain limits and rules in the Maine Clean Election Act, to improve the disclosure of who pays for political ads, and to increase penalties for violations of campaign finance law? 

In addition, on the same ballot, Mainers will have the opportunity to vote on the following two bond questions:

· Do you favor a $15,000,000 bond issue for the construction of new energy-efficient affordable homes for low-income seniors, the adaptive reuse of structures for homes for low-income seniors and the repair and weatherization of existing homes for low-income seniors, which will create jobs and will be matched by an estimated $22,600,000 in private and other funds? 

· Do you favor an $85,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities and equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit and bicycle and pedestrian trails, to be used to match an estimated $121,500,000 in federal and other funds? 

Maine is Training Cybersecurity Experts

The University of Maine System has been named a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Security by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.  This is due, in large part, to the University of Southern Maine’s Cyber Security Cluster which trains students on cybersecurity techniques.  The goal is to expose students to possible threat scenarios and teach them the skills necessary to determine how a cyberattack occurred, how it could have been prevented and how to find evidence to prosecute hackers.  The program works with Maine businesses to help increase awareness about cybersecurity and prepares students for employment in the cybersecurity industry.  

Disaster Relief for Farmers

The Maine Farmland Trust has recently created the Farm Disaster Relief Fund (Fund) to assist Maine farmers who suffer damage and/or loss of product(s) due to disasters.  Farms that are victim to such circumstances, possibly due to severe weather or fires, would be eligible to apply for relief.  The Fund was started with $10,000 from the Maine Farmland Trust and looks to add to that through charitable donations.