Yesterday Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree introduced legislation to help the redevelopment of Brunswick Naval Air Station by expanding federal HUBZones at former military base sites. Maine Sens. Collins and King introduced a similar bill in the Senate.
Historically Underutilized Business Zones(HUBZones) allow small businesses to get preferential treatment when applying for federal contracts if 35 percent of their employees reside within the HUBZone. That geographic requirement presents a problem for HUBZones located at former military installations like the Brunswick Naval Air Station--because few people actually live within the HUBZone.
"The HUBZone program could be a great tool in helping redevelop Brunswick Naval Air Station, but we need to do something to make sure businesses can actually take advantage of it," said Michaud and Pingree. "The base closure left a terrible hole in the local economy and we need to do everything we can to help fill it. This fix will help attract new businesses and support the ones already there while putting local people back to work."
The legislation would expand the size of HUBZones at BRAC-closed bases to include the boundaries of the communities bordering and adjacent to the former installations, where the combined population of those communities do not exceed 50,000 people. The expanded area would give small businesses a larger population of potential employees to draw from to meet the HUBZonehiring requirements.