Entries Filed in 'Business & Innovation'

On Maine’s ballot: $50 million in bonds for economic growth, and bear baiting citizen’s question

October 28th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news

Bonds will help create jobs. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Bonds will help create jobs. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The Legislature passed a $50 million bond plan last spring to boost job creation by small businesses and invest in key sectors of the state’s economy and clean water infrastructure. Some of the investments will help grow Maine’s stagnant economy as Governor LePage has held back bond investments.

The plan is made up of six separate measures. Each received two-thirds approval in both chambers of the Legislature, which made it impossible for LePage to veto the measure.

“Democrats and Republicans came together to make critical investments in our economy,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves. “This is a positive step towards boosting jobs by building on the best of Maine.”

The largest of the six proposals would invest $12 million to recapitalize the Regional Economic Development Loan Program and the Commercial Loan Insurance Programs — proven financing programs that help promising small business on the cusp of job creation access capital.

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The New C&L Aerospace Paint Hangar opening in Bangor

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation

Congressman Michaud attended the opening of the new  C&L Aerospace hangar, which federal funding he secured helped make possible. courtesy photo

Congressman Michaud attended the opening of the new C&L Aerospace hangar, which federal funding he secured helped make possible. courtesy photo

A long-dissed, 17,000-square-foot former Dow Air Force Base hangar was renovated by C&L Aerospace to paint aircraft, and an opening celebration took place October 16th.

Chris Kilgour, CEO of C&L Aerospace, moved his company and family Brisbane, Australia, to Bangor three years ago having been received warmly by the people of Maine. The quality of life, location, and Pine Tree Zone tax incentives- started by the Baldacci administration- were incentive enough him to relocate. Add Bangor’s embrace and the deal was made. At the beginning C&L employed 20 workers. Now he employs about 130 people, and is looking for 20 more. Another expansion at Bangor International Airport is also part of his future plans.

“These successes are all the product of teamwork and cooperation. Every step of the way Bangor put out the welcome matt for C&L. The company’s expansion is a testament to the great work force of our city.” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

The new hangar received more than $575,000 in funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Congressman Mike Michaud wrote to the EDA in 2012 advocating for the investment, and last year hosted a visit from Matt Erskine, EDA’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Commerce for Economic Development. Erskine’s visit included a tour of C&L Aerospace.

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Largest solar complex in Brunswick, Maine, compleated

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation

Maine’s largest solar power complex has been completed and stands at the former Naval Air Station.

The system will produce 1.2 megawatts of power, or about 8 percent of the needs of Bowdoin College. The ground mounted system is comprised of more than 4,000 solar panels at four locations.Under a win-win arrangement, SolarCity financed and built the system and will own and maintain the solar installations, while Bowdoin will purchase all generated power.

The system “reduces Bowdoin’s dependence on fossil fuels and makes sense for the college economically,”said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills.

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Maine’s Workforce Committee receives the President’s Award from MDF for Innovative Workforce Development Initiatives

October 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation

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Today the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future received the President’s Award from the Maine Development Foundation for their comprehensive and innovative approach to workforce development in Maine.

At the start of the 126th Legislature, Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves pledged to make economic growth and job creation a top priority of Democrats. With the creation of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, they delivered on this promise. Today’s recognition by the Maine Development Foundation demonstrates the continued success and full realization of this vision.

“It is an honor that MDF would validate the legislature’s priority on Maine’s workforce needs,” said Alfond. “The investment in Maine people and our workforce needs is a way for our state to sustain and attract businesses. The results are a testament to the collaboration the legislature built with the private sector, unions, nonprofits and higher education leaders.”

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Michaud’s response plan to help workers & communities, in Maine mill closures

October 2nd, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news

Michaud at New Balance shoes. He helped change a law so that shoes for the U.S. military will be made in U.S.A

Michaud at New Balance shoes. He helped change a law so that shoes for the U.S. military will be made in U.S.A

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud discussed his plans to address a series of paper mill closures that have cost Maine nearly 1,000 jobs in eastern and northern Maine since February.

“I understand first-hand the challenges and fears these workers are facing – because they are the same challenges and fears we are experiencing in my own community, and among my own friends and neighbors. I want to be absolutely clear. We can’t be fixated on the past, but I will never surrender good-paying jobs in towns like East Millinocket, Millinocket, Old Town and Bucksport without a fight,” Michaud said.

“It’s not just the mill jobs themselves that are lost when a shutdown like this occurs. It is estimated that every paper mill job indirectly supports 5-7 additional jobs in the logging, transportation, retail and small business sectors. As governor, my primary focus will be to protect the jobs we have, while diversifying our economy – particularly in rural Maine – so that no one company can put our communities at such risk.”

The Congressman worked for 29 years for Great Northern Paper.

Michaud outlined his plan:

  1. Within the first 30 days of taking office, convene a summit of industrial leaders, mill owners, union leadership, municipal leaders and landowners and representatives from the forest products industry to develop an action plan to revitalize and protect rural manufacturing jobs and address the cost-drivers and challenges currently impacting the paper industry;
  2. Work collaboratively with other New England governors to address the energy problems facing our region, including:
  3. Expansion of natural gas as a transitional fuel, especially for industrial users;
  4. Consideration of ways to address solutions for demand-response throughout New England at the state-level;
  5. Implement new rules and laws that hold private-sector companies accountable for job creation and retention when they accept public resources, including tax breaks and grants, and establish verifiable metrics for economic development programs;
  6. Place a two-year moratorium on changes to BETR and BETE, to provide predictability and stability to Maine’s manufacturing sector and then establish a five-year plan to modernize incentives so that they are sustainable and predictable over the long-term.
  7. Reduce energy costs through long-term contracts for renewable energy while reducing Maine’s reliance on a single fuel source for electricity;
  8. Establish and fund an emergency reserve program to support municipalities in the event of large job losses, plant closures or erosion of the local tax base due to re-evaluation of large, industrial taxpayers to protect other property owners from unanticipated tax spikes.

Michaud also talked about his MAINE MADE plan, which supports key sectors and smart, predictable investments in areas such as roads, rail and bridges, broadband, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Maine must look to the future and help our small businesses to grow and be successful,” Michaud said. “And we must empower and inspire our people to put their big ideas into action.”

In addition, Michaud talked about what he believes is one of the greatest powers of the Governor’s Office.

“The governor has the power to bring people together. On the campaign, I talk about the need to put aside the bitterness and division of the last four years. And that’s critical,” Michaud said. “But what I’m talking about here is the power to actually convene. We’re going to come together in a room and we’re going work on these problems until we have identified a path forward. Under Gov. LePage, that hasn’t happened, and Maine workers are suffering as a result.”

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Michaud’s Northern Border Regional Commission gets $1.2 Million for Maine

September 16th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation

Michaud at Hinkley Boats. The company has worked in partnership with the UMaine composite laboratory to improve their boats.

Michaud at Hinkley Boats. The company has worked in partnership with the UMaine composite laboratory to improve their boats.

Maine is receiving more than $1.2 million from the Northern Border Regional Commission – which was created by legislation U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud authored several years ago with the aim of rejuvenating some of the most economically distressed areas in New England.

“When I authored the legislation creating the Northern Border Regional Commission, I did so with the hope that it would create good jobs for Mainers and help jumpstart the parts of our state where business development is needed most,” said Michaud. “Today’s latest round of grants to Maine communities and organizations is more proof of how the NBRC is working just as we had hoped – it’s protecting and even creating jobs, and it’s giving many of our communities the tools and infrastructure they need to flourish.”

Today’s grantees in Maine are:

· $250,000 to Indian Township Passamaquoddy Reservation, to build a maple processing facility in Jackson;

· $250,000 to the town of Hartland to line a solid waste landfill facility (NBRC estimates this will save 142 jobs);

· $226,000 to the town of Ashland, to upgrade a section of highway that is central to the town forest-products intermodal facility;

· $230,000 to the Maine Woods Products Association, to start a training and credentialing program for industry employees; and

· $250,000 to the city of Ellsworth, to develop a station to expand the availability of high-speed internet along the city’s main thoroughfare (NBRC predicts this will support up to 100 new jobs).

“These are great investments for our state – they’ll create jobs, strengthen infrastructure and make our state a better place to do business,” added Michaud. “I’m pleased the NBRC has been such a success, and I look forward to future investments in our state.”

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Wind turbine project will generate $11 million for Hancock County

September 14th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Economy, Energy Issues, Environment, Maine's green energy potential

Wind turbine project approved by Hancock County Commissioners September 12th will generate $11 million in property tax revenue for the county over a 30-year period agreement.

The commission voted 2-1 in approval of a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the project, which will install 17 turbines, at 500 feet tall, with a 3-megawatt capacity in Townships 22 and 16. Of the $11 million in property tax revenue, Hancock County will keep $5.82 million, while the rest will go to Hancock Wind, a First Wind subsidiary.

The agreement allows Hancock Wind to retain 70 percent of its annual tax payments to the county for the next 20 years, but for the last 10 years of the agreement the county will receive 100 percent of the tax revenue.

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Gorham-based research group to get $1.1 million for wind power technology

September 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Energy Issues

The VolturnUS 1:8 comfortably resting in the water. The full size offshore wind VolturnUS turbines will be over 600 feet tall— taller than the Washington Monument. The big units will be fabricated onshore and assembled on the water. Photo by Ramona du HouxCongresswoman Chellie Pingree said today that the Gorham-based Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) is getting a $1.1 million federal grant to help them develop innovative new technology to detect birds and bats near wind turbines. Pingree had pushed for the funding for BRI and said it will help the growing wind power industry in Maine while protecting important bird and bat species.

“The wind power industry is creating jobs in Maine while developing new sources of clean energy,” Pingree said. “But for the industry to keep growing we have to develop better ways to make sure wind turbines aren’t having an impact on the environment. This research that BRI is collaborating on will help do that and is a great example of how Maine can be a leader in clean energy technology.”

BRI will use the grant to further develop a system of high-tech cameras that detect birds and bats in the area of wind turbines. The project is a collaboration with private and public partners including the University of Maine, First Wind and HiDefAerial Surveying.

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Vice President Biden impressed by Maine’s manufacturing history and potential

September 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Economy, Labor issues, Speeches

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone's hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone’s hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard September 3rd with Maine Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud, to highlight the history and future of Maine’s manufacturing innovation.

The tour of the 214-year-old Naval Shipyard gave Michaud a chance to share Maine’s shipbuilding history, manufacturing potential, and University of Maine’s “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” initiative, with Biden.

“I’ve traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that,” said Biden to more than a 1000 attendees at the shipyard. “And the fact of the matter is you’re the best in the world. It’s true.”

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New KeepME Home initiative to make life better for older Mainers

August 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Health Care

The Maine Council on Aging (MCOA)—made up of over 30 organizations working to ensure the well-being of Maine’s older adults—announced its support today of a package of legislative proposals presented by Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Mark Eves.

“Maine is the oldest state in the nation — each day more than 50 people turn 65. These numbers must be a call to action for our state leaders,” said Eves, who has who has spearheaded a statewide aging initiative to address Maine’s aging challenges. “We must transform how people age in our state so they can live independently in their communities and homes. That is the goal of the “KeepME Home” initiative.”

The “KeepME Home” initiatives announced by Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Mark Eves addresses several critical needs for older Mainers: affordable housing near services, access to needed home care and financial security.

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