Maine moves to 48th (!) on Forbes business-friendly list

Good news, Maine!

We’re No. 48! That’s on the Forbes magazine list of business-friendly statesMaine sat at 49th last year after taking 50th place — last among states, for you civic-minded people — from 2010 to 2013.

It gives Maine the worst economic climate in the country, pegging the state’s growth prospects at 49th. Forbes does like our quality of life, however, putting that at 17th in the country.

“Much of the blame for the poor showing in recent years can be placed on the state’s high corporate tax burden and lousy job and economic growth forecast,” the magazine says.

Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, has made a lot of Maine’s Forbes ranking before, and he was even chided by the magazine for stretching the truth on how it arrived at the state’s ranking. He’s probably not much happier with 48th place. — Michael Shepherd

Collins, King help pass bill on drug-affected babies

The Protecting Our Infants Act, co-sponsored by Maine’s U.S. senators, Republican Susan Collins and independent Angus King, passed the Senate on Thursday. It’s aimed at a tamping down a rise in opioid abuse among pregnant women. It’s a massive problem in Maine, where 995 babies were born drug-affected in the state fiscal year ending in June compared to 178 in 2006, according to the state Department of Health Human Services.

The bill would ask the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review its efforts to fight opioid use among soon-to-be mothers and develop strategies and address any gaps, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have to help states improve data collection on drug-affected children.

In a statement, Collins said the bill, headed to the House of Representatives, “will help some of our most vulnerable children receive the best possible start in life.”

“By developing an improved strategy to prevent opioid abuse and provide more comprehensive treatment, we can help mothers struggling with addictions and curb the disturbing rise of infants suffering from withdrawal,” King said. — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

Reading list

Bravo on lottery series

I’m a firm believer that reporters should congratulate reporters as little as possible in public, but I’m making an exception for this data-driven series on the effects of Maine’s lottery on the poor by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. The second part of the series focused on Maine’s lottery marketing effort and third of three parts, released today, is about the ethics of a state being involved in the lottery business. Spend some time with this reporting, Maine. It’s worth your while. — Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.