As a Millinocket-region business owner and resident who sits on the board of directors for Maine’s New Markets practitioner CEI Capital Management, I have a unique view of the program’s intent and demonstrated success. So I find it deplorable that anyone would abuse this powerful economic development tool, whether in my hometown or anywhere else.

The Maine Sunday Telegram series “Payday at the mill” illuminated vulnerable parts of the program that need to be amended, prompting necessary reflection on how to achieve the original goals of the program while closing the door to possible misuse.

The New Markets program has helped Maine compete for business on a global scale. It has been cited as the reason Swedish wound care manufacturer Mölnlycke built a state-of-the-art factory at Brunswick Landing, and is why St. Croix Tissue chose to reinvent the Woodland Pulp and Paper Mill as a new economy papermaker, both creating quality jobs and generating supply chain benefits that ripple throughout the economy.

An assessment by economist Dr. Charles Colgan shows when a project receives the Maine New Markets tax credit and continues to operate as expected, the state will recoup more than taxpayers put in.

While this is not true in a case like Great Northern Paper, which ceased to operate, St. Croix and Mölnlycke will more than repay our state as they grow and prosper.

I ask the Legislature to continue the program with amendments needed to ensure that positive intent is matched by positive impact.

Matthew Polstein