EDITOR’S NOTE: The following testimony was delivered by Megan Diver on behalf of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in support of LD 602, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Research and Development in Maine, at a public hearing held on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, before the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. We have reprinted it here for your review.
Senator Breen, Representative Gattine, distinguished members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee: I am Megan Diver, senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a statewide business association representing both large and small businesses across the state. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is also proud to be a co-leader of the MaineSpark Coalition, which is dedicated to achieving the state goal that 60 percent of Maine adults will hold a credential of value by 2025.
I am pleased to be here before you today to talk about the Chamber’s support for LD 602 and the how important Research and Development investment is to Maine’s economy and businesses. The Chamber supports policies and priorities that help Maine businesses prosper and our economy to flourish to make Maine as competitive as possible. Research and development (R&D) will play a vital role in Maine’s economic future.
Maine remains reliant on industries that are expected to be stagnant or lose jobs over the next decade. R&D is important to existing companies in Maine and especially important to new Maine companies. R&D is important across many business sectors; manufacturing, biotechnology, software development, engineering, pharmaceutical and many more. Today, Maine businesses compete globally. R&D is crucial to any company developing their own product(s) and critical to innovation to help companies bring forth new products and services. It’s necessary for companies to stay ahead of the competition, at all times, and continued R&D investments ensure this is possible. Investments in R&D creates business opportunities, high-wage jobs, and tax revenues through development of new products and improvements in the current technology of existing businesses.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Innovation has long been recognized as an important driver of economic growth. New ideas can spark wave upon wave of new goods and services that literally transforms an economy, making it robust and vibrant.”
The Chamber urges the committee to support LD 602 and make a long-term commitment to support research and development in Maine. Maine is far behind where we need to be in funding for research and development, and it will take a significant investment to achieve long-term success.