Testimony of Nancy Smith, Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine
in favor of LD 413,
“An Act To Expand Eligible Project Costs in Development Districts”
March 11, 2013
Senator Lachowicz , Representative Graham and members of the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government. My name is Nancy Smith and I am the Executive Director of GrowSmart Maine. As many of you know from our previous interactions with the committee, GrowSmart Maine is a statewide non-profit membership-based organization working to grow Maine's economy, protect its distinctive character, and enhance our state's quality places. I regret that previously scheduled commitments prevent me or other GrowSmart Maine representatives from presenting this testimony at today’s Public Hearing.
As a part of our commitment to strengthening Maine’s economy, GrowSmart Maine is particularly enthusiastic about well grounded, thoughtful and creative proposals which seek to grow the economy in a sustainable manner while at the same time preserving our state’s unique character and quality of place. We believe this bill fits that description. This bill will allow for municipal funding of regional efforts in economic development projects. Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) is an extremely powerful economic development tool available to municipalities. It makes great sense to allow this change in the TIF program.
GrowSmart Maine evaluates legislation from several perspectives as we consider the relevance to our mission. We have found value in reviewing the benchmarks highlighted in the Measures of Growth in Focus Annual Report, released each year by the Maine Economic Growth Council, under the Maine Development Foundation. As we seek to increase the per capita income across the state, (benchmark #1) expanding the TIFs to allow for projects broader than a single municipality just makes sense. It may well result in reducing local tax burden (benchmark #15), or at the very least, allow for the better use of those local taxes by supporting regional efforts.
Please contact me with any questions regarding GrowSmart Maine’s support for LD 413.