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Economic Commission Projects Slow Growth for Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state Economic Forecasting Commission today heard from several sectors of Maine’s economy at a State House meeting.  Representatives  of bankers, doctors, hospitals, energy companies, car dealers and manufacturers all made presentations to the panel on how their sector of the economy is doing.

The message from all was one of slow and steady growth, and some concerns about what actions Congress may take that could have an impact on Maine.

Deputy Commissioner of Finance Mike Allen told the panel that lower energy prices could also have a positive impact of the economy, with Mainers paying less for gasoline to commute to work and less to heat their homes for at least part of the winter heating season

Jim Clair, the chairman of the group, said they are only tweaking their forecast from earlier this year.  

“The amount of change that we are making in this forecast is a continuation of the relatively low inflation, relatively low interest rate, modest personal income growth and modest employment growth,” he said in an interview with MPBN news.

Clair said Maine has seen “decent” growth in its economy this year, but has not seen some of the dramatic growth some southern and western states have experienced. He said the national economic models don’t always fit well with Maine so the panel has had to fit national data to Maine’s actual economic condition.

“And so we are trying to make sure that the economic forecast really makes ultimate sense with what the Maine experience has been,” he said.

The detailed forecast will now go to the state revenue forecasting panel next month, and the panel will take the economic projections and apply them to state revenue models. They will use that information to project how much tax revenue the state can expect over the rest of this budget year and next.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.