Here are a few links from around the web that we’ve been talking about.
Another day, another report ranking Maine as either good or bad when it comes to its business climate.
One of the most recent is this analysis from an electronics trade group, which places Maine in the bottom third of states when it comes to innovation.
The Consumer Electronics Association labeled Maine as a “modest innovator,” based on a criteria that includes taxes, number of technology workers, and how well it attracts investment.
That overall rating included a D grade when it comes to the amount of venture capital and research and development money spent per capita. It also lagged — literally — in Internet speed, earning only a D+ rating.
The metric includes how welcoming states were to new business models, which the CEA apparently judged based on whether state legislatures in 2014 passed laws favorable to ride-sharing services. It also considered whether states had right-to-work laws on the books, which allow workers to decided whether they want to join unions.
The states that got the best overall ratings include Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia. Washington D.C. also made the list.
Details from the study dovetail with yet another recent report, which noted that the cost of business in Maine is as low as it was in the early 1990s, even though the state still isn’t spending enough on research and development and its Internet is too slow.
This is the first year the CEA put out such a report, but a 2013 Fast Company analysis ranked Maine 30th in the country for innovation. And Forbes in November ranked the state as the second-worst for business in the country. The good news is that that analysis marked a break in our four-year slump in dead-last place.
— Dan MacLeod
There is a tiny independent pseudo-country located seven nautical miles off the coast of England. It’s called Sealand, and it’s been there since the 1960s. By one measure, it technically is a nation, supporters say. Problem is, it’s not really recognized by the “real” countries. But it is part of a debate over whether we should be looking to the ocean to create new cities — especially as water levels rise.
“… the idea of floating nations may become more accepted as the impacts of climate change are seen. Consider the Maldives, he said, which is sinking below rising sea level. ‘You can see this nation could be transitioning to a floating nation, and the question becomes, does the world recognise them as a nation?’”
Naturally, my first thought was: Where would be the best place to build a floating city in Maine, and what would it look like?
— Dan MacLeod
Why have one super PAC when you can have four? U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has four super PACs backing his presidential bid: Keep The Promise, and Keep The Promise Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
“The thing to keep in mind here is that regular contributions — the funds to candidates themselves — are capped at $2,700 per person. It can seem a pittance compared with the unlimited contributions collected by superPACs. And that suggests the balance of power may be shifting, even more than before, to outside groups,” states an NPR piece by Peter Overby.
— Erin Rhoda
A majority of federal and state welfare money goes to people who actually have jobs, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.
Fifty-two percent of fast food workers and a quarter of part-time college faculty received some kind of aid — which includes a wide array of services, like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Earned-Income Tax Credits, and food stamps.
If you scroll down, there’s a handy table that breaks down just the federal assistance dollars to working families on a state-by-state level, which shows 45 percent of Maine’s share went to working families.
Here’s a PDF link to the research brief.
— Dan MacLeod
Deer Isle lawyer John Steed writes in the Bangor Daily News that the state needs to sweeten the deal for young people if it wants them to move here.
“We should make a deal with young entrepreneurs and skilled workers: come to Maine, stay in Maine, start a business or bring skills to targeted industries, and we’ll help with your student loans and medical insurance and give you an opportunity at ‘the way life should be.’”
— Dan MacLeod