AUGUSTA – A bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to create a tax credit to support Twin Rivers Paper Company in Madawaska became law without the governor’s signature on Thursday. The new law — LD 1713, “An Act To Increase Workforce Skills for the Revitalization of Maine’s Paper Industry through the Establishment of an Income Tax Credit for Paper Manufacturing Workforce Training” — would provide a tax credit to companies like Twin Rivers that maintain good-paying jobs and make significant capital investments to acquire, modernize or improve machinery before January 1, 2024. The credit would apply to companies that are not eligible for the New Market Tax Credit programs that currently exist.
“Over the past several years, my colleagues and I in the Legislature have made it a point to make smart, targeted investments to lift up Maine businesses that do right by their employees and contribute to our state. Whether it’s the tax credit to support Idexx in Westbrook or the bill I sponsored to help bring Penobscot-McCrum’s potato processing plant to Washburn, it is critical that our small businesses and manufacturers know that we have their back,” said President Jackson. “This new credit will ensure that Twin Rivers is a shining example of how Maine can revitalize its heritage industries and sustain an economy that supports working class people well into the future. I’m thrilled to see this become law and glad my colleagues on both sides of the aisle came together to support this vital piece of legislation.”
The new law comes on the heels or two previous tax credits Jackson sponsored to support Maine business in previous Legislatures. In 2017, the Legislature passed a law to support Idexx’s expansion into Westbrook. Later in 2019, Jackson sponsored a law to incentivize the creation of a Penobscot-McCrum potato processing plant in the town of Washburn.
Twin Rivers directly employs more than 430 employees. However, the mill has a greater impact on jobs throughout the region, supporting an additional indirect 300 jobs and 1,200 induced jobs. As a result, an estimated 2,000 jobs in northern Maine depend on the mill’s success. Mill workers earn an average wage of $83,730, a number that outpaces the average compensation in the state’s paper sector and is nearly double the average wage among all Maine occupations.
In the past, Twin Rivers has relied on the Madawaska-Edmundston International bridge as a major artery of transportation. However, the bridge’s condition since 2017 has forced the company to re-route trucks through Van Buren — adding extra miles to the trip and costing the company millions of additional dollars in transportation costs. Twin Rivers also has to incur additional costs to relocate pipes from the current International Bridge to another structure across the St. John River. These costs have caused the company to put off a multi-million dollar investment into their number eight paper machine that would increase production of new products and increase profitability.
The law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.