Known for natural beauty and resources, Maine has a tradition of being a rural, scenic state. Readers of Steven King will be well acquainted with the image of Maine’s unique beauty and charm. Maine is carrying this tradition into the future, while still finding room for new business and industries to grow and bring much needed additional capital into the state.
Sparked by the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) introduced in 2001, Maine is now better positioned to compete in the economy. The NMTC has led to new job opportunities throughout the state at both new and existing businesses. The US Treasury department allocated more than $80 million through the legislation to be used as tax credits to economic development projects. A prime example of this is a plant in Baileyville; in operation since 1905, the plant had a pressing need to upgrade to modern equipment and infrastructure. With the passing of the NMTC, the plant was able to save 300 existing jobs and create almost 100 new positions.
By focusing on the areas with a higher level of poverty and unemployment, the NMTC drives cost effective private investments and provides special financing opportunities for small to medium sized business. The legislation is credited with saving or creating more than 1500 jobs, and has had a secondary effect of supporting thousands of additional jobs in the communities served. This show of innovation has attracted new investors and projects to Maine, breathing a fresh life into many neighborhoods. Portland based CEI Capital management is reported to have used tax credits received for 90 projects since 2004, and has saved and created over 4700 jobs. Projects have been used to support growth in manufacturing industries, as well as the arts, health care, conservation, technology, hospitality, and agriculture.
Olympia Snowe, a former Maine Senator, was outspoken in her support of the New Markets Tax Credit. Her confidence in the acts ability to drive industry and capital to Maine has been infectious in other states considering similar programs. By empowering investors to become more active in Maine, and creating incentives to keep existing industry where it is, Maine has found the perfect solution to both high unemployment rates and increased people living at and below the poverty line. Maine residents are assured prosperous years to come, in part thanks to the New Markets Tax Credit.