Opinion

U.S. subsidizes businesses, too

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To the Editor;
Jason Brochu’s opinion piece about how tariffs on imported lumber will offset the present advantage Canadian producers enjoy from Ottawa’s subsidies does not mention the fact that Maine taxpayers have subsidized many businesses here, including Brochu’s company, through tax incentive programs, such as the Pine Tree Development Zone and Employee Tax Increment Financing.

While not directly subsiding the product like the Canadians do, our state programs reward eligible businesses for expansion and job creation. Advantages of the Pine Tree Development Zone program can include up to 80 percent of the new employees’ state income taxes being returned to the employer, reduction of state corporate tax and exemption of sales tax on purchases related to the expansion project. This is all money that would otherwise go into Maine coffers.

While I do not question the hard work of these employees and value to the community, the fact remains that Maine taxpayers have subsidized some of these businesses. The state has not been able to determine the value of these programs by numerous legislative and oversight studies.

The new tariffs will make taxpayers pay again, through higher prices for everything they buy. Brochu did not include these facts in his analysis.

Judy Bielecki
Machiasport

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