The Pine Tree Development Zone program needs to remain a staple for economic development in Maine. We need to continue rewarding employers who create good-paying jobs for employees.

PTDZ’s opponents may be well intentioned, but they are also shortsighted in their opposition. Few viable alternatives, if any, have been suggested to replace the program. Removing it would leave a gaping hole in Maine’s broader economic growth agenda. Doing away with the program will put Maine economic development at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states and beyond the Northeast region.

States like Maine are in a constant state of competition for good-paying jobs and opportunities for career advancement. In the Northeast and other parts of the country, there are plenty of states with robust economic development programs that make them more attractive destinations for private-sector entrepreneurship and innovation. Southern states like Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia are well-known as emerging business hubs.

As Mainers, do we want to slip behind our competitors or do we want to win the race for economic growth? There are really two options: economic slippage or economic growth, robust growth in 2023 and beyond. I know where I stand.

Jim Dinkle
executive director, FirstPark

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