I appreciated reading Haley Frank’s “Short Relief” column this week (“Midtown Project deserves state tax credits”). CEI Capital Management led the New Markets tax credit work on three of the projects he lists as successes (Farnsworth Museum, Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Portland Public Market conversion). It is refreshing and reinforcing to see positive comments on a program that has done much to support economic activity in Maine. Activity that should be encouraged and not stifled. There is much positive benefit that comes from both the Maine and the federal programs to Maine taxpayers.
Over 13 years working with the federal New Markets program and, more recently with the state version, we have seen it improve quality of life from Brunswick and Portland to Baileyville and Presque Isle. While our firm’s scope is national, about one third of the work we’ve done has directed about $274 million of federal and state New Markets Tax Credit capacity to 22 projects in Maine – all of which continue to operate. The program has helped to create or preserve more than 1,700 permanent, full-time jobs in the state, plus created another 460 construction jobs. It has also allowed for the protection of 577,713 acres of sustainably managed forest land within Maine while allowing traditional public access and forest products uses to continue.
The federal and state New Markets programs support bedrock industries, invite new ones, and help diversify economies. We encourage our Congressional representatives to renew the federal program and encourage the state Legislature to revisit the Maine program’s extension in the future.
Charles J. Spies III
CEO, CEI Capital Management LLC