AUGUSTA — The Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business on Thursday unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to expedite state payments to Loring Development Authority in Limestone.
The bill — LD 1835, “An Act To Authorize Early Payment of Anticipated Funds to the Loring Job Increment Financing Fund” — would allow for a one-time early transfer of Loring Development Authority’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) payment.
“The Loring Development Authority provides vital economic support to the town of Limestone and the surrounding communities of central Aroostook County. Multiple businesses and hundreds of workers in the area depend on Loring’s success,” said President Jackson. “I want to thank the committee for passing this bill to provide critical state funds to keep this entity afloat.”
The Loring Development Authority of Maine was created after the closing of the Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. The Authority manages the 3,700 acre business, commercial and industrial park that includes a 1,600-acre aviation complex. According to the 2018 annual report, it serves as landlord to leasehold businesses and supplies municipal services to approximately 300 residents and 28 businesses that employ nearly 800 workers.
The Loring TIF Program partially funds the Authority. The program allows the Authority to receive 50 percent of the Maine State Income Tax withheld from incremental jobs created at the Loring Commerce Center. The funds are used for municipal services, including water, sewer, fire protection, police protection, sanitation services and maintenance of grounds and roads.
Typically, the funds are transferred from the State Tax Assessor annually on or before July 31. This emergency bill allows for a one-time transfer of funds up to a year prior to July 31, 2020. These funds would be a bridge to keep the Authority viable until long-term financial planning is done.
LD 1835 will now go before the full Legislature in the coming weeks.