This bill is reported out by the Joint Select Committee on Maine's Workforce and Economic Future pursuant to its authority under Joint Order 2013, S.P. 27 and Joint Order 2013, S.P. 602. The committee is reporting the bill out with the recommendation that it be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs for an appropriate public hearing and subsequent processing in the normal course.
Part A provides for a bond issue in the amount of $73,000,000 to be used to provide funds to the Finance Authority of Maine, the Maine Technology Institute, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the University of Maine System, the Jackson Laboratory and the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. The funds would be used to:
1. Provide $5,000,000 to insure portions of loans to small businesses made by a participating financial institution to spur investment and innovation;
2. Provide $15,000,000 for state, regional and local financial intermediaries to make flexible loans to and investments in small businesses to create jobs;
3. Provide $10,000,000 to promote research, development and commercialization for economic development and private sector job creation, awarded after a competitive process administered by the Maine Technology Institute, and leverage matching funds on at least a one-to-one basis;
4. Provide $15,000,000, to be matched by $16,000,000 in private and public contributions, to establish at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor a center for biometric analysis using state-of-the-art technologies to expand the State's research capabilities in the area of medical analytics, make the State a global resource for precision medicine, improve the State's capacity to attract and retain young professionals and facilitate additional grant funding, private sector investment, job growth and economic activity in the State;
5. Provide $5,000,000, to be matched by $9,500,000 in private and public funds, to modernize and expand infrastructure at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory needed to increase biotechnology workforce training from 350 to 500 students a year, retain and recruit to Maine multiple biomedical research and development groups and create a drug discovery and development facility that will improve human health and stimulate biotechnology job growth and economic activity;
6. Provide $15,000,000 in funds to facilitate the growth of marine businesses and commercial enterprises that create jobs and improve the sustainability of the State's marine economy and related industries through capital investments, awarded after a competitive process administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development in consultation with the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Technology Institute, and leverage matching funds on at least a one-to-one basis; and
7. Provide $8,000,000 in funds for a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Insect and Animal and Plant Disease Identification Facility to assist farmers and foresters and to protect plant, animal and human health.
Part B amends the laws regarding the Regional Economic Development Revolving Loan Program of the Finance Authority of Maine to include revitalization of downtowns and building stronger communities and a sustainable economy as purposes of the program. It clarifies that a lending corporation under the program may use revenue from commitment fees and interest to cover its operating costs, including loan fund management, increases the dollar amount of the maximum loan available to a borrower, allows a lending corporation to serve more than one region and adjusts other financing terms. It also adds businesses engaged in commercial and mixed-use real estate and community facilities and businesses engaged in serving tourists to the list of businesses that are eligible for financial assistance under the program. It changes the program to allow participation by companies with 100 or fewer employees, instead of 50 or fewer, and by companies with annual sales of up to $10,000,000, instead of $5,000,000 or less. It amends the total loan amount by increasing the cap from $250,000 to $350,000 for corporations and from $100,000 to $350,000 for quality child care projects.
Part C provides guidelines for the administration of the $15,000,000 for marine businesses provided in Part A.
Parts B and C take effect only if the General Fund bond issue proposed in Part A is approved by the voters of the State.
Do you favor a bond issue to provide $4,000,000 in funds to insure portions of loans to small businesses to spur investment and innovation and to provide $8,000,000 in funds to make flexible loans to small businesses to create jobs, revitalize downtowns and strengthen the rural economy?
Yes ( ) No ( )