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Economic Report 

(AP) – The Maine Economic Growth Council report rating 23 areas in the state’s economy, communities and environment sends a mixed picture to Governor Baldacci and legislative leaders who were presented with copies yesterday in the State House.

Its authors see the report as a document to help the state set goals and chart its course over the long term.

It draws data from state and federal indexes.

The report praises the state for having 89 percent of its population covered by health insurance and for managing a forest in which growth and harvests are balanced.

But it says research and development spending is lacking, manufacturing productivity is weak, state and local taxes are too high, health care is too expensive and the highways and bridges are deficient.

Baldacci acknowledged the weak areas but says his proposals seek to address them.

He called on business leaders to support his proposals aimed at easing taxes through school consolidation, modernizing MaineCare and merging state departments.