Leveraging State Resources for Small Businesses

One of the advantages of running a small business is being able to take advantage of some of your local government’s resources designed specifically to assist small business owners to grow and become self-sufficient. The same holds true for Maine, there are a wide variety of resources that small business owners can leverage to both grow and stabilize their businesses. Maine wants to see its small business owners become successful, experience growth and thrive. As a result, if you are a small business owner that operates in Maine, you may find some of their programs indicated below useful to assist with leveraging your overall success.

The Employment Tax Increment Financing Program

If you own and operate a business within the state of Maine, you may be happy to learn about their Employment Tax Increment Financing (ETIF) program. It was created to assist new and well-established business owners hire new employees. The core purpose of the program is to allow business owners to reduce the costs typically associated with hiring employees. This is done by refunding business owners between 30 and 80% of their state withholding taxes. This goes into effect and is maintained for up to 10 years. The good thing about this program is that the reimbursement rate increases as the local level of unemployment increases. Those that operate within the Pine Tree development Zone receives the highest reimbursable rate.

The program has already experienced a significant amount of success. It has been responsible for helping approximately 161 business owners that operate in the state of Maine claim roughly $13 million in reimbursements. This is a reflection of 8,586 new jobs with adequate, well-paying wages and also offers both retirement benefits and health care benefits to its newly hired staff.

General Requirements

Not all businesses qualify for this program. It is designed for those that intend to hire at least five or more new, permanent, full-time employees within a two-year period of time.

The Employment Tax Increment Financing Program is offered to qualified, eligible businesses through the Department of Economic and Community Development. However, it is not designed for retail-based only businesses or for nonprofit organizations. Neither of these types of businesses is eligible and cannot apply.

The Qualification Process

The key is to first make sure you qualify for the program before applying. You can do this by first going through the application and approval process. Business owners can apply at the point that they believe they will be hiring at least five or more employees within the next two-year time period.

Businesses that are located within the Pine Tree Development Zones can enroll in the ETIF program while applying for the PTDZ application. They must have a minimum of one new hire.

The Pine Tree Development Zone

The Pine Tree Development Zones (PTDZ) is a program that provides eligible businesses with the opportunity to significantly reduce or completely eliminate their state taxes. This program can remain in effect for as long as ten years – as long as both new and quality jobs are created within specifically designated business sectors. Pre-existing qualifying jobs may also be moved to certain parts of Maine as well.

Sectors that are eligible to participate consist of the following:

  • The Biotechnology Industry
  • The Environmental Technology Sector
  • The Financial Services
  • Aquaculture and Marine Technology Sectors
  • Information Technology
  • Composite Materials Technology
  • The Advanced Technologies for Forestry and Agriculture
  • The Manufacturing and Precision Manufacturing Industries

Benefits of the Program

  • Corporate Tax Credits
  • Sales and Use Tax Exemptions (for personal and real property)
  • A Tax Withholding Reimbursements of 80%
  • Reduced Electricity Rates

Other benefits consist of designated insurance tax credits, which are limited, however, to only businesses that operate in the financial sector.

As it turns out the PTDZ program has already proven to be well received. More specifically, over 240 businesses have participated in the PTDZ program during the year of 2016 alone. This reflects reimbursements in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of those who have paid taxes for newly hired employees.

To learn more about this program, please visit the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development

The Get Real Maine Program

Spearheaded by the Agricultural Resource Development Division, the Get Real Maine program promotes both Maine products and its producers. The Get Real. Get Maine! website allows consumers to search for various farms within their neighborhood or community. It also allows them to search for particular products that have been produced by Maine farmers markets. This program also consists of fairs that take place throughout the state of Maine. And for your convenience, as a business owner a list of the different Agricultural Fairs that will be taking place throughout the state of Maine has also been made available. You can also use the list to find out about more information on other events and other resources that your business can use to connect with more of Maine’s Real products!

Some examples of what you’ll find on Maine’s searchable listing consist of other businesses that produce various fruits, such as apples and berries, specialty foods, maple syrup and a wide variety of other on products.

Resources for Farm and Producers

The Get Real. Get Maine! website is also available for use by Maine’s producers. They can use the site to list information regarding their business, including the following:

  • Farm and other products that they offer
  • Special events that may be taking place at their location
  • Information on how they can be reached by buyers

The great thing about this process is that each of the producers can be added to the Find Food and Farms database that has been made available for consumers. When producers list their businesses on our website, they can also participate in other opportunities such as collaboration promotions that are available for various special events.

This is just one of the many resources that have been made available to businesses that operate in the state of Maine, all designed to assist them to promote, collaborate, grow and thrive.

Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.