The recent editorial “Maine news by the numbers – math makes case for pessimism” failed to provide critical context for the statistics it cited about Maine’s Business Equipment Tax Relief and Business Equipment Tax Exemption programs. Namely, that they are essential to Maine businesses, especially those that are capital intensive and provide hundreds of jobs. At our company, we employ 360 Maine people full time and recently made investments of over $20 million in machinery.

Contrary to the editorial, the impact of these programs on major capital investment decisions is not “likely marginal”; it is hugely impactful. BETR and BETE alleviate the personal property tax, which penalizes businesses for making investments in Maine. Many states wisely do not impose such a tax. Maine already has significant barriers to investment, like high energy and transportation costs, and a labor shortage. We don’t need to provide businesses with other reasons to invest their dollars elsewhere.

The report from which the editorial drew its statistics failed to understand the critical role that BETR and BETE play in keeping Maine businesses competitive with those in other states.

Businesses from all around the State, as well as the Maine Municipal Association, testified on the importance of BETR and BETE at the public hearing on the report on February 28. These programs have broad support among businesses and municipalities alike. The statistics cited in Friday’s editorial failed to provide any context as to the why these programs were created and the benefits they provide to Maine’s economy and its citizens.

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