AUGUSTA – A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash to help the Loring Development Authority (LDA) navigate the COVID-19 was enacted by the Legislature early Friday morning. The proposal would provide flexible financing to support LDA’s efforts to revitalize the Loring Air Force Base by embracing new economic opportunities and creating good-paying jobs.
“Ever since the devastating closure of the Loring Air Force base in 1994, the LDA has worked to innovate to bring new opportunities to Aroostook County. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new and unexpected roadblocks to investment to the area,” said President Jackson. “The base has so much potential, and I am glad my colleagues in the Legislature were unanimous in their agreement that this is a common-sense proposal to help LDA weather the storm.”
LD 22, “An Act To Authorize Early Payment of Anticipated Funds to the Loring Job Increment Financing Fund” would allow for an early transfer of the payments to the LDA from the Loring Job Increment Financing Fund. Every year in July, the State Tax Assessor deposits 50 percent of tax revenues from employment at the authority back into LDA’s coffers to support further investment and development. This bill allows LDA to withdraw those funds at any time 12 months prior to the July deadline. The short-term injection of funds aims to transform the base into an economic hub for the region.
The Loring Development Authority of Maine (LDA) was created in statute upon 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. It serves as a landlord to businesses and provides municipal services to approximately 300 residents and 28 businesses, which employ an estimated 800 workers. LDA works to attract new employment opportunities and jumpstart new economic activity in the area.
LD 22 now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.