Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
February 23, 2012
Senator Rosen, Representative Flood and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, my name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine, a statewide non-profit, membership-based organization working to improve Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character and communities, and enhance our state's quality places. In recognition that this committee, if it decides to move forward with a bond package, will likely combine aspects of several bond proposals, we wish to express our support for several bond proposals at this time, some of which have been heard previously and others being heard today and Friday.
The Action Plan for promoting sustainable prosperity in Maine outlined in our 2006 report, Charting Maine’s Future, calls for the use of bonding to invest in our economy and quality places. Many of the specific areas that were singled out for investment, including community revitalization, land, farm and waterfront conservation, research and development, and our natural resource based economy, are encompassed by the bond proposals you are considering this session.
GrowSmart Maine strongly believes that our state would benefit greatly from the strategic use of bonding to enhance economic development efforts, fund research, development and commercialization projects, invest in infrastructure improvements, and continue the state’s commitment to the Land for Maine’s Future and Communities for Maine’s Future programs. We urge the committee to include these important investments in a bold and balanced bond package this year.
Specifically, we are speaking in support of the following bills before you today:
• LD 829, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Invest in Transportation, Broadband Infrastructure, Downtown Revitalization, Land for Maine's Future and Training Facilities in Labor Market Areas with Higher than Average Unemployment for Tourism-related Training
• LD 842, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Research and Sustainable Development of Maine's Natural Resources
• LD 852, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine's Natural Resource-based Economy
• LD 1187, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Revitalize Maine's Downtowns through Innovative Business Development and the Creative Economy
In addition to these bills, GrowSmart Maine expresses equally strong support for the bond proposals put forth by Senator Rector (LD 225) and Representative Cain (LD 409) fund the Maine Technology Institute. MTI provides a competitive process for awarding funding to Maine-based public and private institutions. This competitive process is much more effective than earmarking bond funds for specific projects.
Thank you for the opportunity to present these remarks.