Maine TIF law allows billions in business property taxes to be diverted (Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting)

Part one of a two-part series, "The TIF Game"

Get a TIF, and you, too, have to pay taxes on that new warehouse or factory – but the taxes don’t help pay for the schools, plowing and cops.

Instead, the property taxes paid by a company with a TIF might build a new road or sewer line to the business. Or the tax money sometimes is returned to the business to help its bottom line.

All this comes under a little-understood and highly-technical program called Tax Increment Financing (TIF) created by the state in 1977.

Read more here:


Tax ‘game’ allows some towns to protect their state aid at expense of other towns

Tax breaks: The secret budget

An ongoing series that investigates Maine state government’s multi-million dollar business breaks — and whether they do what they’re intended to do.

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Comment by Penny Gray on August 15, 2016 at 7:16pm

Paula Kelso, isn't it just wonderful that our selectmen, legislators and attorneys are so much smarter than we are?  So we don't have to worry about a thing?  First selectman in my town told me that exact same thing.

Comment by Long Islander on August 15, 2016 at 6:31pm

Franklin County proposes changes to TransCanada TIF agreement

Comment by Pineo Girl on August 15, 2016 at 6:22pm

Former Co-chair of the EUT Committee John Cleveland is rewriting the TIF agreement for Transcanada's Kibby Mountain. He's out of the legislature but still doing all the damage he can! I am just so sick and tired of this corruption!  As for Pisgah - maybe what they meant was the Eaton Peabody attorney knew enough to skirt the regs.  Mike Bond personally gave money to pay for attorneys fees to fight Pisgah!

Comment by Paula D Kelso on August 15, 2016 at 6:10pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention, here as usual elsewhere, we were assured that Pisgah's lawyer [Eaton, Peabody at the time] was the most knowledgeable attorney in the State on TIF's so Pisgah's attorney would write and administer the TIF for the town. We wouldn't have to worry our pretty little heads about anything while our TIF account money would grow by leaps and bounds and make all our dreams come true. And they all lived happily ever after. I guess some people believe ignorance is bliss.

Comment by Pineo Girl on August 15, 2016 at 12:31pm

Hmm! I haven't looked at TIF legislation for years - Originally, in 1977, the legislation was enacted to give communities a way to pay for "public utilities" - sewer water and other utilities -to allow for the development of a project that would generate new taxes and create jobs in and for a community.  The size of a TIF and the amount of the TIF new tax generation that could be set aside was limited - and the length of years for the TIF was limited. If a TIF was to include any direct infrastructure for the project, the entire community had to agree to the TIF. An example of this was in Brewer, Maine, when Lemforder corporation wanted to add on to their building to accommodate a new joint venture with another company. The City of Brewer went out to public referendum to ask the citizens of Brewer if they would approve the TIF.  They did. Lemforder Corporation and its later partner ZF Steering, both German auto parts manufacturers, came to Maine in 1979 and provided several hundred well paying jobs until 2009.  That is what the TIF legislation was supposed to do!  Somewhere around 2006 the TIF legislation was changed and now there is no limit to amount of money, no limit to public infrastructure, no job creation requirement, no public approval.  I smell a rat and that rat is John Baldacci - Funny thing - He kinda looks like a rat!!

Comment by Paula D Kelso on August 15, 2016 at 10:20am

Here in Clifton, if Pisgah gets a TIF, there's all kinds of stretching the rules going to happen.

The project has to be in a TIF district which has rules for where it can be. So here the 'district' would have to run to the nearest road, Route 180. The game plan has been to build a fire station there with TIF money cause the wind project would necessitate a new fire station. [Regardless that the town doesn't have any now and what can they do to fight a turbine fire anyway.] And presto the town has a fire station but no personnel and so on with grand schemes so that Pisgah can get tax money back. At the outset, the Pisgah partner who was a selectman suggested that it be a 100% TIF. All the Pisgah tax money would go into the slush fund and Pisgah would get a healthy amount back. So Eddington and Holden might well dissolve the school district if that happened. Clifton 'sheltering' a whole bunch of tax money and not contributing a cent more to schools, roads, county tax. The big glitch is that none of the money the town retains can go to offset taxes in the budget. It has to go for special projects that are chosen by a committee. Just think of the shenanigans that would start. Mostly Pisgah talks about the town could set up a scholarship fund. But really, this town can't agree on small stuff, how can it manage any big stuff? So some people think their taxes are going to be getting a big cut and some people are working to put in a TIF that wouldn't cut their taxes, might cause a split in their school district, would again put citizen against citizen, and would line some people's pocket while most people got poorer. Either do away with TIF's or beef up the state oversight of them and make hard and fast rules.

Comment by Penny Gray on August 15, 2016 at 8:56am

"• To entice a developer to an unattractive property, the town designates the property as a TIF district."

So...Maine's mountains have been thus classified for industrial development by both state law (expedited wind law) and TIF's.  I'd really really like to see a list of all wind company TIFs in Maine and where the money has gone, especially considering that no permanent local jobs were created.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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