Two opposing political groups are strangely silent concerning Gov. Baldacci’s Pine Tree Enterprise Zone proposal: landowners and environmentalists. Some landowners in the zones might be happy to sell their property to the new enterprises. Those who elect to hold on would probably find their property subject to tightly restrictive land-use regulations.
The environmentalists, most of whom are Democrats, find it wrenching to their psyches to oppose Gov. Baldacci, a Democrat. So they remain silent, notwithstanding that the governor’s proposal would bring 40,000 acres of rural, undeveloped land under threat of commercial and industrial exploitation.
I find it easy to oppose the governor’s plan to artificially shift the economy of the state from southwest to northeast and to induce businesses from other states to relocate only to Maine’s Pine Tree Zones.
The governor’s proposal probably would attract only small, marginal enterprises with few employees drawn to Maine for the tax break. If he wants Maine to be truly business-friendly he must take an all-Maine approach to the problem: substantially cut corporate taxes, cut power costs, cut workers’ compensation costs, and cut transportation costs to levels comparable to those in competing states.
The Maine Legislature should defeat the governor’s Pine Tree Zone proposal. It discriminates geographically, leaving businesses outside the zones at a competitive disadvantage.
Carle G. Gray