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Inward Investment Guides

Maine Direct Financial Incentives 2014

Maine's economic development, finance and tax organizations provide a range of incentive programs to initiate new business and commercial investment.

Area Development Online Research Desk (Q1 2014)
Industrial development bonds:
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), as well as municipalities in the state, issues bonds to provide tax-exempt financing for private businesses. Proceeds may cover the cost of land, land improvements, utilities, buildings, engineering, architectural and legal fees, and machinery and equipment.

Loan guarantees:
The Commercial Loan Insurance Program insures up to 90 percent of a loan to a maximum loan insurance exposure of $4.25 million. 100 percent insurance available for loans to veterans, oil storage facility projects, clean fuel vehicle projects, and waste oil disposal site cleanup projects. Loan proceeds may be used for purchase of - and improvements to - real estate, machinery, and equipment.

Direct lending:
The Economic Recovery Loan Program is a direct lending program designed to help small businesses remain viable during difficult economic times. Existing businesses may apply. In considering loan applications, FAME looks to support creditworthy projects demonstrating substantial public benefit that have utilized other sources of capital.

The program is meant to be a lending program of last resort after a business has exhausted conventional lending sources. Loans may not exceed $200,000, except in cases where substantial public benefit exists. The interest rate will not exceed Wall Street prime plus 2 percent. Terms may be structured to meet the borrower's specific needs.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program:
The CDBG Economic Development Program provides gap funding in the form of grants and loans for communities to assist businesses in the creation/retention of quality jobs for low and moderate-income persons. Program activity groups and maximum grant and loan amounts are as follows:

Economic Development Program:

Activity Group Numbers

  1. Grants to Municipalities: for acquisition, relocation, demolition, clearance, construction, reconstruction, installation, and rehabilitation associated with public infrastructure projects such as water and sewer facilities, flood and drainage improvements, publicly-owned commercial and industrial buildings, parking, streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, etc. All public infrastructure must be owned by the municipality or public or private utility and be in support of an identified business. Maximum award: $1,000,000.
  2. Grants to Municipalities for Direct Business Support: for capital and non-capital equipment, land and site improvements, rehabilitation or construction of commercial or industrial buildings, job training, working capital and capital equipment and be in support of an identified business. Acquisition is not an allowable activity under this group. Maximum award: $1,000,000.

Workforce Development Grant Program (WDG):

Activity Group Numbers
  1. Grants to municipalities to address community and business resource needs by providing funding for operating expenses, equipment, and program materials for workforce training programs which will benefit low/moderate income (LMI) persons. Eligible activities include operating and program material expenses for the purpose of providing workforce training and skills development to address the shortage of an available trained workforce. Other eligible public service activities associated with the project are allowed. Maximum award: $100,000.

Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant Program:

Activity Group Number
  1. Grants to Municipalities for Direct Business Support to assist in innovative solutions to problems faced by micro-enterprise businesses. Assistance to businesses may be in the form of grants or loans at the discretion of the community. Eligible activities under the Micro-Enterprise Assistance category are grats or loans to for-profit businesses that can be used for working capital and interior renovations, facade grants or loans for exterior improvements, including signage, painting, siding, awnings, lighting, display windows and other approved improvements; and eligible planning activities necessary to complete the project development phase. Maximum award: $150,000.

Tax increment financing (TIF):
Local governing bodies can designate areas in their municipalities as development districts to facilitate redevelopment activities. Public financing, usually in the form of bonds, provides necessary improvements, and developers obtain financing to carry out the major redevelopment. The public debt is retired through the increase in property taxes generated by the redevelopment.

Employment tax increment financing (ETIF):
This program provides project financing to businesses that add five or more employees at wages above the county average and provide access to health insurance and a retirement program. The amount of financing is based upon state individual income tax withholdings and is available for up to 10 years.

Pine Tree Development Zone Program:
This program uses a combination of tax incentives to spur economic development statewide. The state will offer to qualified new and expanding businesses (1) an enhanced employment tax increment financing that returns 80 percent of the state income taxes withheld from qualified net new employees for up to 10 years; (2) a 100 percent refund of corporate income tax and insurance premium tax for years one-five, and 50 percent for years six through 10; (3) a 100 percent sales tax exemption for construction materials and equipment purchases; (4) a 100 percent sales tax reimbursement on real property purchased and/or physically incorporated; and (5) access to reduced electricity rates..

Training Programs

Maine Quality Centers:
The Maine Quality Centers, administered by the Maine Community College System, provide a pre-trained, competitively tooled workforce for new or expanding Maine businesses that create at least eight full-time jobs with benefits. The education and training, provided at no cost to the company, is fast-track, guaranteed, and customized to an employer's specifications.

Maine Apprenticeship Program:
This program is a customized, systematic training program designed to meet the needs of Maine employers through on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. The program may reimburse the apprentice (or employer if the company is providing tuition assistance) for up to 50 percent of tuition for college credit courses. At the end of the program, an employer has a certified, skilled journeyperson.

Maine State Contact:
Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
59 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0059
(207) 624-9800
www.maine.gov/decd


Incentive and tax information is provided to Area Development by each state's economic development or commerce agency for information purposes only and is subject to revision at any time by the state government. Please contact the state agency directly for full requirements and offerings.

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