As someone who has spent my entire adult career in banking and finance, and who now advises entrepreneurs and start-ups, I have watched with dismay and puzzlement the effort in the Legislature to levy a 12-percent extraction tax on bottled water.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Lori Gramlich, does not mention Poland Spring bottled spring water by name, but it’s clear Poland Spring is the target, since it’s the only company in the state that meets the bill’s eligibility for the tax.

Perhaps Rep. Gramlich doesn’t understand the economics of business, i.e., what aids and what detracts from competitiveness; cash flow; what allows for and what inhibits capital investment; increasing or decreasing payroll; as well as corporate philanthropy, but I do. By legislating a tax targeted at a single company, the State of Maine is sending a clear message to other companies: Beware of doing business in Maine.

The operational impact of any industry doing business in Maine flows through payroll spending, additional spending via contractors and vendors, sponsorships and philanthropy—and taxes and fees to state and local government. The proposed Gramlich tax, which can only be described as punitive, since it targets only one company, may force Poland

Spring to pull funding from investments that would otherwise go to growing the company or aiding the communities where it operates.

Poland Spring employs nearly 900 Mainers. According to an article in the Press Herald, Poland Spring’s overall economic effect in Maine, in 2016, was $391 million.

If the state wants to raise revenue responsibly, allow more Mainers to have good-paying jobs. Allow businesses to grow. Allow the state to become known as friendly to business and families.

Jim Delamater


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