Jobs bill establishes the Invest in Maine Capital Fund

High-tech business in Maine.

Photo and article by Ramona du Houx

A law aimed at attracting large-business investments to Maine became law as a result of Sen. Stan Gerzofsky's bill. 

While some House members opposed the mesure Eric Brakey was the only senator to oppose the bill.

“This is my last bill as a senator, and I couldn’t be more proud that it’s a jobs bill for Maine people,” said Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, the bill’s sponsor. “Our state does a fantastic job helping small and medium-size businesses. With passage of this bill, we’ll improve our ability to attract large companies that create hundreds, not dozens, of good-paying jobs. With our traditional large employers, the paper mills, having much-publicized trouble, this is just the shot in the arm our economy needs.”

The bill, LD 1480, establishes the Invest in Maine Capital Fund within the Finance Authority of Maine. The fund would support businesses developments that meet three criteria: They must commit to investing at least $50 million in Maine, create or retain at least 250 jobs, and pay their employees at least 125 percent of the state average wage.

The legislation is modeled on successful programs in other states, which have provided seed capital for business creation and expansion. The initiative obligates no taxpayer dollars to the fund. Rather, the Maine Capital Fund would operate as a type of mutual fund for business investments and will be capitalized by pension funds, institutional endowments, insurance companies and other types of investment instruments.

“In the past few weeks, large businesses have announced the creation of 700 jobs in Brunswick alone,” said Sen. Gerzofsky. “Those jobs will affect not just our city, but an entire region — from Lewiston-Auburn all the way down to Portland and beyond. When this bill becomes law, we can expect a lot more announcements like that.”