LePage touts business incentive 'zones' plan

Troy R. Bennett/Bangor Daily News

Gov. Paul LePage makes a pitch to shrink the power of Maine's labor unions while offering details about his "Open for Business zones" proposal at a press conference in Brunswick on Monday.

BRUNSWICK — Gov. Paul LePage on Monday made his latest pitch to shrink the power of labor unions in Maine when he offered details about the “Open for Business zones” proposal he introduced last month in his State of the State address.

LePage laid out his vision for the Open for Business zones during a presentation at Brunswick Landing, the former Navy air base that became available for civilian redevelopment in 2011. He framed a key component of his plan — that employees of companies in the zones will not be required to join labor unions — as an effort to ensure “payroll protection.”

The Republican governor often has advocated that Maine become a “right-to-work” state, which would change the state’s law requiring that employees who choose not to join unions pay the equivalent of union dues for being represented in collective bargaining. He has said that company officials looking to locate or expand in Maine have told him that Maine suffers competitively against southeastern states that have enacted right-to-work legislation.

The state also would offer training and recruitment assistance to companies in Open for Business zones. Firms benefiting from Open for Business zone incentives would be encouraged to hire Maine workers and buy materials or subcontracted services from Maine providers.

The language for legislation to create the Open for Business zones, which will be sponsored by Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, has been completed, but the bill has yet to be submitted to the Democrat-controlled Legislature for consideration, according to Doug Ray of the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

Democrats have staunchly opposed all efforts by LePage and Republican lawmakers to pass any form of right-to-work legislation in Maine.

Brunswick Landing and the former Loring Air Force base in Limestone would be the first two areas that LePage hopes would benefit from Open for Business designation, which is designed to offer incentives for large companies to come to Maine.

Ray said the zones follow the model of existing Pine Tree Development zones introduced by LePage’s predecessor, Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, which initially offered tax breaks and incentives for businesses that located in economically troubled areas, but spread to the entire state as the business climate worsened in the late 2000s.

But Open for Business zones would expand on the benefits of those zones to offer more workforce training and additional corporate tax credits. The bill also would allow businesses access to a pool of up to $500 million in bond funding from the Finance Authority of Maine.

The zones would offer the benefits to businesses that invest at least $50 million and create 1,500 jobs. Those businesses also would be eligible for discounted electricity rates, employment tax benefits and increased access to capital.

A 20-year corporate income tax incentive would include a 100 percent income tax credit for the first 10 years and a 50 percent credit for years 11 to 20.

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JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

There is a law called Beck Rights...LePage again making Lies

Beck rights dictate that workers cannot be forced under union ...

Again LePage is talking thru his backside.....
The Republican governor often has advocated that Maine become a “right-to-work” state, which would change the state’s law requiring that employees who choose not to join unions pay the equivalent of union dues for being represented in collective bargaining.
A decade ago, the U. S. Supreme Court established what are now known as "Beck rights" in the landmark decision Communication Workers v. Beck.1 Beck rights dictate that workers cannot be forced under union contracts to pay any dues or fees
In other words, any worker who objects to his union's use of his dues money for purposes not directly related to collective bargaining is entitled to a refund of that portion of his dues. Beck rights are a triumph of individual rights over the political weight of union leaders.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

If I were planning to move..........

If I were planning to move my company into Maine I would certainly look for economic assistance from the State. More importantly, I would also do my homework as to the overall political climate of the state. If I had a company I would have second thoughts of relocating to a state who is in constant turmoil with itself. A State that governs by forceful threats from the Governor. A Governor who is totally indifferent to the wishes of the people. A Governor who can only make things happen by threatening not to do other things. A Governor who has no control of his own administration. A scandalous administration.
If I had a company I would think long and hard before moving it to Maine, hell, at this point in time I wouldn't bring a family on vacation here. Until we can get some sort of semblance of order in Augusta, no amount of good old fashioned fake niceties will hide what is really taking place in the State House. It needs to be authentic......................



Considering the governor already backtracked on a $400 million dollar deal you have to wonder what kind of company would be taking a chance on a deal with this guy as governor. Probably the kind that runs a sweatshop. It appears the governor thinks we need more low wage jobs in Maine.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Just another ALEC narrative

from the illustrious leader of Grover Norquist from his CPAC speech...

The right for them to eat out of your fridge and pay you less than nothing with no rights....
Right-to-work states account for 8 of the 10 worst states, and all 5 of the 5 worst states (in order, from 46th-50th: Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississsippi). The majority of RTW states are not only in the bottom half of the country, but in the bottom 20 of the 50 states. -

See more at: http://www.epi.org/blog/life-worse-work-states/#sthash.x3HvCO1c.dpuf


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