What the new poverty report has to do with NMTCs in Maine

Yesterday’s Op Ed in this paper by Charlie Spies, the CEO of Portland-based CEI Capital Management had some great facts about preserving local business, creating jobs and environmental sustainability that come from investing New Markets Tax Credits. In case you missed it, the piece noted:

“Approximately 2,000 direct jobs have been preserved or created in Maine. The entities receiving the tax credits are fueling the state’s innovation economy, from nature-based tourism to renewable energy, small business manufacturing and social services. More than 1.8 million acres of Maine’s timberland are committed to land trust conservation and sustainable forestry practices.”

With today’s release of the US Census report on poverty in the US the call for extending the life of these credits is especially timely. In it the Census reports the 2011 rate of poverty in the country is at 15 percent, the same as the prior year. A full 100 percent of New Markets Tax Credits in Maine and nationally have been made in low income communities with poverty rates of at least 20 percent, or median incomes at or below 80 percent of the area, according to the national New Markets Tax Credit Coalition.

New Markets Tax Credits are another financial instrument that businesses have in their toolbelts for lifting local communities. But organizations need sound business plans and strategic partners to make the most of them – tapping banks, private investors, foundations, local schools and more to truly make an economic impact and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are deployed.

Educare Central Maine

Working with CEI Capital Management, I see some of the additional public-private partnerships needed for these projects to move forward. For instance, the Educare project in Waterville that’s hired a couple of dozen jobs so far, wouldn’t have succeeded without additional support from Waterville Public Schools, the William and Joan Alfond Foundation and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. From Bangor Savings Bank to The First, community banks and larger ones too are recognizing the benefit of these credits to fuel opportunities too.


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About christengraham

President of Giving Strong, Inc. Christen advises businesses, foundations and families for how to make a greater social impact.