The Ati-thesis , Marxism


"By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production.[3] Friedrich Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, argues that state capitalism would be the final stage of capitalism consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state.[4]"

Quoted from Wikepedia

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Recent Advances In Central Management Of The Maine Economy


To give some context to theory, I am posting this history:

The Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 follows word for word a Maine State bill passed in 2013 and codified as "Industry Partnerships" This act seeks to centrally control the the entirety of all resources in Maine, as a corporate conglomerate structure.

Title 26: LABOR AND INDUSTRY
Chapter 39: MAINE INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS

§3304. Industry partnerships


2. Responsibilities of the collaborative.  The collaborative shall:
A. Provide support and staffing assistance to the industry partnerships established under this chapter; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
B. Create an industry partnership to advise the collaborative, the State Workforce Investment Board established in section 2006 and the boards of the local workforce investment areas designated pursuant to the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Public Law 105-220 on aligning state policies and leveraging resources across systems, including workforce development, education and economic development; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
C. Include requirements that support industry partnerships in all relevant programs, grants and new initiatives; and [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
D. Use industry partnerships as a connective framework across systems and programs when applying for federal and private funds. [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]


From another Era
 No individuals or groups (political parties, cultural associations, economic unions, social classes) outside the State. Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognizes the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonized in the unity of the State Benito Mussolint- The Doctrine of Fascism 1932

The language found in the Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 regarding home businesses  reads like it was cut and pasted from Industry Partnerships. Ordinances, which are supposed to be written by local governance in response to local needs are being written at the state level, instead, which has no direct contact with local needs, this can be reasonably presumed to be in return for the hoped for payola of state grants.

Industry Partnerships

2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
Action B.2-3. Revise the standards for more intensive “home businesses” that include activities that are carried on outside of a structure on a residential property or that generate noise or commercial traffic or similar impacts. These uses should be allowed through a planning board review process in which the owner of the home business must demonstrate that it will meet standards with objective criteria for minimizing the impacts on the adjacent neighborhood including providing appropriate buffering and maintaining the visual character of the roadscape.
Action B.2-4. Explore creating a small business assistance program that would help growing businesses, including home businesses and home occupations, with financing and with locating in appropriate commercial/industrial districts when appropriate.

Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015

Town of Boothbay – Comprehensive Plan Update 2015 23 Action B.2-3.Revise the standards for more intensive “home businesses” that include activities that are carried on outside of a structure on a residential property or that generate noise or commercial traffic or similar impacts. These uses should be allowed through a planning board review process in which the owner of the home business must demonstrate that it will meet standards with objective criteria for minimizing the impacts on the adjacent neighborhood including providing appropriate buffering and maintaining the visual character of the roadscape.
Action B.2-4. Explore creating a small business assistance program that would help growing businesses, including home businesses and home occupations, with financing and with locating in appropriate commercial/industrial districts when appropriate.

I have not yet found Boothbay Harbor Town Ordinances. For Comparison's sake, Damariscotta Ordinances. do not include sections copied from the Maine's Industry Partnerships Act.


The Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 states that if the town submits a state approved plan, it can get a state grant. The municipality will serve as an instrument of the state- ie the three former military bases in this state are chartered as municipal corporations serving as instruments of the state. In conventional use those municipal corporations are never referred to as towns but rather "authorities".


§3305. Industry partnership grant program

1. Grant program.  The collaborative shall establish a competitive grant program that provides support to industry partnerships and eligible applicants pursuant to this section. The grants must be used to provide training or the ability for local, state or regional industry partnerships to meet the objectives listed in section 3304.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Applications and guidelines.  The collaborative shall establish grant guidelines and develop grant applications and forms and institute any policies and procedures necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. These procedures must include at a minimum:
A. A competitive application process; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
B. A process to review applications and to make recommendations to the collaborative; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
C. A process for providing applicants with additional information about eligibility requirements and assistance in preparing applications; and [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
D. A procedure for establishing eligibility requirements. At a minimum, this procedure must include the following:
(2) Participation of at least 4 employers, with at least 2 employers representing businesses with fewer than 50 employees;
(3) Participation of employees and, where applicable, labor representatives;
(4) Private sector matching funding of at least 25%, except that businesses with fewer than 25 employees may be exempted from this matching funding requirement at the discretion of the collaborative; and
(5) Commitment to participate in the performance improvement and evaluation system established pursuant to section 3307. [2015, c. 156, §1 (AMD).]
2015, c. 156, §1 (AMD) .]
3. Grant period and renewal.  The grant period for grants awarded under this section must be not less than 12 months and not more than 24 months. The collaborative may provide opportunities for renewal after the initial grant period ends.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
4. Technical assistance.  The collaborative shall provide technical assistance to grantees throughout the grant period.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
5. Other funding sources.  The collaborative shall seek funds from other private and public sources to support and sustain industry partnerships and related activities established in this chapter. Industry partnerships also may seek other sources of funding, both public and private.
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW)2015, c. 156, §1 (AMD).

The formula for getting the most money from the state is through public private partnerships. The selectmen, despite their claims that they cannot do anything to help individual businesses likely have their public private relationships in the works.-my guess !

The Home Rule Amendment (1969) authorized local self government calling for public approval of expenditures by municipal referendum. In 1976 Longley's Board set a goal of
 eliminating municipal referendums, followed by a declaration by the Legislature which deemed central management of the economy to be an essential government function which must be done by public private relationships. The policies embedded in the Maine Capital Corporation used central management by government to create a class of public private capitalist partners who would become "the owners of the land",or in Marxian terms, "the owners of the means of production". Central management sold this to the public as a  public benefit, reasoning that the public-private-capitalists-owners-of production are creating jobs for landless laborers- which is where the term wage laborers came from as explained in this passage found on Quora. written by Brian Johnson, who identifies himself only as "Victim of the consequences of capitalism"

For capitalist economic history, Britain became the first industrial nation ‘spontaneously’; that is, without the help of direct state intervention. This interpretation, however, does violence to the history of violent expropriation of the agricultural population from the land. The state did critically intervene in the interests of the emerging capitalists in two ways:
  • Enclosure movements, enforced by the state, dispossessed the peasantry of both common and individual land usages. The landless labourer was created.
  • Wage legislation and systems of social security, most notably the Poor Law
Amendment Act of 1834, forced long hours and factory discipline on the landless labourer. This turned the landless into wage labourers.
Why is Maine's central management writing regulatory passages for home occupations to be inserted into municipal ordinances? Is the insertion of state created municipal regulations into municipal ordinances part of the backroom deals between municipal leaders willing to form secret agreements with central management to function as authorities and instruments of the state in exchange for being designated as a favored recipient in the states capital redistribution system? Given the secrecy with which the JECD is acting, it is reasonable to speculate about such things.

In contrast to the political social-economic vision embedded in Industry Partnerships, Andersen Design's vision for re-establishing our production as a social enterprise is based on establishing a network of independently owned ceramic slip casting productions spread across Maine's free enterprise zone. The free enterprise zone is other wise known as "the other Maine" and is largely excluded from central management's wealth redistribution policy. The idea for the Andersen Design network grew out of my own love for the business in a home lifestyle, and the mind-engaging process of ceramic slip cast production. The business in a home is the direct descendant of the family farm. I feel that people care the most about that which they themselves own and so providing the opportunity for the operator of the production to also be its owner would tap into the greatest sense of commitment and devotion.

The 2013 Industry Partnerships Act is an all encompassing plan for managing the entire economy and capital distribution in Maine. It is the current evolution of the paradigm shift from the local governance provided for in the Home Rule Amendment to the deeming of a state managed economy found in the Report from the Governor's Tax Force of 1976. (This report can be had by requesting it from the Legislative Library of Maine.The word for word repetition of text from the Industrial Partnerships Act of 2013 found in Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of  2015 gives the appearance, that the selectmen are working as agents of the state, rather than for the local community. The economic development council does not appear to be functioning as a local resource, but rather as a development corporation with its own agenda, aligned with that of the state.

To note: For many years I googled the Maine Constitution and it came up -stand-alone- at the top of the list. In recent months the stand alone version has been hard to find and the Constitution is only accessible by searching for it in the menu of the Maine Legislature's web site, often with distracting pages being presented first, which can make one forget what one was looking for in the first place. After meeting resistance from the Maine Law Library webmaster, the accessible stand- alone version of the Maine Constitution returned as the number one listing on a Google search, but that has not stayed in place. Finding the easily accessed Maine Constitution via Google is sporadic. Today I could not find the Maine Constitution without going through a time consuming trail and when I got to it, it was embedded in the Legislature's website as if a department of the Legislature, which is only one of the three branches of government that the Constitution governs. Once again I will protest! The manner in which fascism was entrenched in Mussolini's Italy was by over writing the Constitution with statutory law. Here is the Home Rule Amendment which precedes the Longley Doctrine by less than a decade:

Note the subtle color change of the background color from the buff parchment color of the stand alone Constitution to the green background color used for the statutes, replacing the former blue color used for the statute. The color changes  act as a visual symbol, merging the Constitution into statutory law, with the Maine Legislature as a law unto itself- as it has been acting since the Longley Doctrine was implemented.

Article VIII.

Part Second.

Municipal Home Rule.

Section 1.  Power of municipalities to amend their charters.   The inhabitants of any municipality shall have the power to alter and amend their charters on all matters, not prohibited by Constitution or general law, which are local and municipal in character.  The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure by which the municipality may so act.
Section 2.  Construction of buildings for industrial use.   For the purposes of fostering, encouraging and assisting the physical location, settlement and resettlement of industrial and manufacturing enterprises within the physical boundaries of any municipality, the registered voters of that municipality may, by majority vote, authorize the issuance of notes or bonds in the name of the municipality for the purpose of purchasing land and interests therein or constructing buildings for industrial use, to be leased or sold by the municipality to any responsible industrial firm or corporation.

UPDATE: A few hours later. The stand alone Constitution with the parchment colored background is back- but now it includes links to the statutes which I do not recall having been there before, complete with a statute search, embedded in the online Maine Constitution. I do not think that belongs in our Constitution. The Constitution is ultimate law - the consent of the governed, which governs what is permissible in statutory law. Statute searches and links should not be in our Constitution but its is better than our Constitution being published in the context of statutory law,

WHERE DOES THE MONEY FOR INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS COME FROM?

The  fiscal note  for the 2013 LD90  industry partnerships,  removes General Fund appropriations from the Department of Corrections and gives it to Industry Partnerships in the amounts of $955,500 in fiscal year 2013-2014 and $1313417 in the fiscal year 2014-2015. . 
In the year 2015, Governor LePage publicly deplored the Department of Corrections for its lack of fiscal responsibility: In a Bangor Daily News story reported on February 10 2015,  LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver[1], Governor LePage proposes a new amendment in response to what he deplores as the lack of sound fiscal management by the Department of Corrections

The move would allow LePage to appoint a receiver “when, in the judgment of the governor, the state Board of Corrections system, for whatever reason, fails to fulfil the goal of sound fiscal management,” the amendment states:

The receiver would be in place until June 30 of this year. At issue are funding shortfalls totaling nearly $2.5 million this year for Maine’s 15 county jails. Five of those jails — in Aroostook, Cumberland, Penobscot, York and Androscoggin counties — are in danger of closure by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. Sheriffs and lawmakers from those counties have said they would have to refuse to accept new prisoners or release inmates if they ran out of money. Bangor Daily News LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver’ February 10 2015[
The total amount taken from appropriations for the Department of Corrections to fund Industry Partnerships is $2268917.00. That is almost the same amount of the shortfall. When operating without enough capitalization everything costs more, accounting for the difference. The Department of Corrections is a genuine essential government function. Centrally managing the economy is merely deemed to be an essential government function by the Maine Legislature. To fund Industry Partnerships, the Legislature robbed the Department of Corrections of necessary funding, putting the safety of the people of Maine at risk.

The amendment offered Tuesday would provide $2,171,316. It was unclear, even among lawmakers, why the amount in the amendment was lower than the need identified by the jails.  LePage looks to elude Board ofCorrections with county jail ‘receiver,

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Changing Economic Paradigms


Weston Neil Andersen, founder of Andersen Design at age 91, photograph by Susan Mackenzie Andersen


The narrator of the video, produced by GHD inc is selling the need for the round about. He tells us that the traffic going to the Boothbay Botanical Gardens will double in the next twenty years with nothing to back that up but his confident tone of voice. Selectmen promoting tiff financing speak as if there can be no doubt that projected property taxes will yield sufficient return on the investment to cover Boothbay's cost of the round about. Tiffs are seldom spoken about in terms of risk, but there is no such thing as a no risk investment. The future does not follow a certain path.

My family has been selling in this region since 1958 but we did not anticipate the sudden down turn in summer tourist spending that happened regionally in 2002 and has continued to decline ever since. The next year, The Boothbay Opera House reopened as an entertainment venue, followed by the Botanical Gardens, Bigelow Labs  and elaborate transformations still underway at the Boothbay Harbor Country Club, but the once abundant summer revenue has not returned. I hear the buzz around town about the recessed retail market, but no mention from the Town selectmen or the JECD as they make plans to expand and talk of heavy traffic flowing from the Botanical Gardens, traffic I have never encountered in my frequent travels, at varying times of day, through the section of roadway where the round about is now being constructed. Does Paul Coulombe know about the retail recession which has afflicted this area for 15 years as he plans a new shopping district for Boothbay? Are the stores in the new Boothbay shopping district going to bring the shoppers in just because they are there? Are the shopkeepers going to be the new property tax payers who will cover the Town of Boothbay costs of the round about?
America's prize-winning number of 47 square feet of retail space per capita is 3-8X higher than anywhere else in the developed world!
Bad Trend Breaking: Why Retail Results Are Not Better Than Expected, But Worse Than Ever!By David Stockman. Posted On Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Nationally major retail chains have been closing locations as online sales have continued to climb. A company like Andersen Design, if re-capitalized, could be an asset to this region because our name brand recognition can translate into online success and market other lines, provided our company is funded to re-establish at a scale appropriate to the size and depth of our line of products, which would look like this:

Graphic from Andersen Design's Business Plan, available on request



Our brand name recognition is also a qualifying asset for the museum. Such a museum. if located in an ordinance-friendly location would draw other designer-craftsmen to the area. Products made by a designer-craftsmen are best appreciated in the real world environment and so introduce a reason for the shopper to shop in the brick and mortar world.

The current objectives found in the Boothbay Comprhensive Plan of 2015 do not bode well as a place to grow a designer-craftsmen community, and thus make Boothbay an unsuitable location for the proposed museum. The reason our founders and parents left Ohio was because the Levittown community in which they were located would not allow them to establish a ceramic slip-casting studio in their own home.

Levittown

The Imperfect Rise of the American Suburbs

Objective B.2 Accommodate home occupations and home businesses while minimizing their impacts on neighboring properties
Action B.2-1. Revise the land use regulations to clarify the treatment of low-intensity “home occupations” (currently called home occupations, homemaker/office) and more intensive “home businesses” (currently called home occupations, other) including establishing standards for each type of use, with clear, objective criteria. These criteria should be different for the two types of activities and should be tied to the scale of the business use and the nature or scope of the activity.
Action B.2-2. Revise the standards for low-intensity “home occupations” that are carried on entirely within a structure on a residential property and have little or no impacts on adjacent properties and allow this use in all areas of the community with a simple administrative review process.
Town of Boothbay – Comprehensive Plan Update 2015 23 Action B.2-3. Revise the standards for more intensive “home businesses” that include activities that are carried on outside of a structure on a residential property or that generate noise or commercial traffic or similar impacts. These uses should be allowed through a planning board review process in which the owner of the home business must demonstrate that it will meet standards with objective criteria for minimizing the impacts on the adjacent neighborhood including providing appropriate buffering and maintaining the visual character of the roadscape.
Action B.2-4. Explore creating a small business assistance program that would help growing businesses, including home businesses and home occupations, with financing and with locating in appropriate commercial/industrial districts when appropriate.
 Andersen Design is a historical pioneer of  businesses in the home in the Boothbay Region, as I was made aware about last summer when a neighbor expressed how original we were when we moved into town and put out a sign a ran a business from our home. Our business grew far beyond what current ordinances will permit. We developed a national and international market and were number one sellers in venues such as the Smithsonian Catalog and the America House which was located across from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. When we wanted to expand to a larger production, the town wouldn't allow us to do so and so Dad expanded in Portland where we employed about 25 people year round, but the remote distance from our home location eventually made that unsustainable.

The property across the street where Weston Neil Andersen wanted to build a ceramic studio production which which would be designed as a building merging into the hill side. This is the view we see from our windows. Photograph by Susan Mackenzie Andersen More images of Mill Pond HERE
The integrated lifestyle, inseparable from the home business, is the environment which formed my generation and my father's generation before us. Dad was raised on a farm. That is where Dad, as a small child, first fashioned sculpture from clay he found in the ground. Dad used to speak of how the farmers would lean against the fences talking while shifting the dirt through their hands, Whether my father recognized it, the family farm, which molds a particular kind of perspective into being, is the model upon which Dad built this business. The business in the home is an important counterbalance to another societal perspective in which business activities are segregated from other life activities.


Sculptures fashioned by Weston Neil Andersen as a child


If the objects identified in the Town of Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015 were really the intended purpose of its planners, Andersen Design would be the type of business that the plan wants to encourage. The reality is that when I approached the JEDC about the  Andersen Design Museum of American Designer Craftsmen, I was told that the JEDC cannot do anything to help individual businesses, contradicting what is said with specificity in the Comprehensive Plan of 2015.

The plan specifically identifies businesses in the home as something it aims to encourage, while at the same time highly regulating those businesses consistent to what the planners think is appropriate. The plan does not explain what is meant by "appropriate", begging the question - appropriate to whom? Consider the conflict between Simpson's Boat building and its neighbor. Which party represents the measure of appropriate ?

Because of our unique assets including a product line of market proven designs, unparalleled in our industry, and a brand identity developed over 65 years, Andersen Design is a qualified voice for designer-craftsmen everywhere. I submit that a planning board which does not recognize the economic development asset that Andersen Design is to the Boothbay Region, Maine, as well as to the American ceramics industry, is highly unqualified  to decide what is appropriate, unless they are acting as exclusive representatives of the faction to which the neighbor attempting to close down  Simpson's boat yard belongs.

Objective B.2 , found in the comprehensive code, is standard code, but let it be said that businesses in the home are themselves residential properties. Often overlooked in planning board policy is that a business in the home is a specific lifestyle in which income producing activities are integrated with all the other activities taking place in the home. What is more holistic than a business in the home?
MISSION:  Reflect a broad and holistic definition of economic development
 Boothbay-Boothbay HarborDraft #2 Mission Statement of the Joint Economic Development Committee
Imagine if the regulations concerning the number of employees or independent contractors that town ordinances allow were applied to residential code. Will future ordinances limit the number of family members or guests allowed to be present in a home at one time? There is as much justification for such a regulation as there is for the inhabitants of Boothbay being required to go through "a simple review process" (Action B.2-2.) in order to engage in income earning activities in the privacy of their own homes, having little or no impacts on adjacent properties . What is a "simple review process" in this scenario. I submit that there is nothing "simple" about requiring such a review process for the activities described in the ordinance. That in itself is a draconian measure, which is never simple. Dear Lords, I am just here to beg your permission to sell my home made muffins at the church sale! Is this what we have come to? YES!

The planners go on to speak of how they will guide home businesses to relocate in "commercial/industrial districts". When a home business is ready to move to a stand alone location, the business owner will decide what is the best location for his business. If the Town ordinances accommodate the best location from the business person's perspective, then there is a match. If not the business will look for a another community which serves its needs.

The number of employees which any business can hire is naturally limited by the amount of space it occupies. There is no need for ordinances to cap the growth of home businesses by capping the number of employees and independent contractors a home business can hire. There is particularly no need for the selectmen to regulate income producing activities done in one's own home, which do not affect the neighbor hood. This language has persisted in the planners rhetoric since 2014 when I went to the town office to pick up a simple DBA form and was handed a an application for doing a business in the home instead of the document requested. I wondered that day if I had signed the document would I have cancelled our grandfathered zoning. The incident was irrational and bespoke of an in-inordinately controlling culture existing in Town government.

I make the point a second time that a reason to create a Town Charter for Boothbay is that it can limit the powers of the selectmen. I am of the opinion that that centrally managing our economy is not an appropriate role of government.

The Boothbay Register reports that the JECD has new plans in the works which will be financed with tiffs. The JECD's mission statement says it will carry out work in a transparent and cooperative way but the public is paying for consultants without being offered a clue about what is being planned. The Comprehensive Plan states that if a state approved plan is presented, Boothbay can get a state grant. In the next post I will speculate on what those plans might be, drawing on knowledge of state economic development policy gained from seven years of independent research,

In the meantime I am  Calling all Angels to pray for a miraculous intervention in next week so that Andersen Design can retain this business in the home with its very important grand fathered zoning. Please include us in your prayers. Read more HERE.

Mug by Weston Neil Andersen decorated by Brenda Andersen in the 1950's

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Unspoken Transformations in State & Local Government

In 2015, the Boothbay selectmen decided it was time for a new comprehensive plan. To introduce this idea the planners wrote:
The Town’s current comprehensive plan was adopted in 1989 following a period of somewhat rapid development and change in the community. The Town has used the 1989 plan as the basis for its zoning for almost 25 years. The passage of time and changes in the Town and the Boothbay region have made much of the plan out-of-date and a less than useful guide in managing the future of Boothbay. Therefore the Town has prepared this update of the Comprehensive Plan to serve as a guide for the decisions the Town must make about growth, development, redevelopment, and change over the coming decade. The 2015 Plan is a complete review of the issues facing our community and addresses emerging issues as well as providing a fresh look at ongoing issue
Our family moved to East Boothbay since 1958. The number of businesses on Ocean Point Road have remained relatively the same In recent years. Several well financed institutions have since located in Boothbay. The most recent is the Boothbay Harbor Country Club, purchased by Paul Coulombe in 2014.

Tiff increment financing is incorporated in the 2015 comprehensive plan. Tiff financing was voted in by a close margin in 2014. Tiff financing borrows on projected future property tax revenues of a property to finance the development of the same property. If projections fail to materialize, the expenditures must be paid for by increasing existing property taxes.
Tax increment financing (TIF)is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects in many countries, including the United States. Similar or related value capture strategies are used around the world. Through the use of TIF, municipalities typically divert future property tax revenue increases from a defined area or district toward an economic development project or public improvement project in the community. The first TIF was used in California in 1952. By 2004, all 50 American States had authorized the use of TIF. The first TIF in Canada was used in 2007. As the use of TIFs increases elsewhere, in California, where they were first conceived, in 2011 Governor Jerry Brown enacted legislation which led to elimination of California’s nearly 400 redevelopment agencies that implemented TIFs, in response to California's Fiscal 2010 Emergency Proclamation thereby stopping the diversion of property tax revenues from public funding. The RDAs are appealing this decision.TIF subsidies are not appropriated directly from a city's budget, but the city incurs loss through foregone tax revenue.
Tax Increment Financing Wikipedia

Boothbay voted for its first tiff financing project in 2016, a project to create a round about with an exit for the road leading to the Botanical Gardens and a grand entrance to the Boothbay Harbor Country Club (located in Boothbay). One of the videos promoting the project is narrated by a transportation consultant for GHD Inc. The narrator says that the coastal villages have become increasingly attractive. Since coastal villages have always been attractive, the statement implies an unspoken intended demographic which is becoming increasingly interested in coastal villages. The narrator says that problems identified by DOT needs a multi-agent/mutli-party co-operative agreement, which is exactly what is written into state law in MaineDOT’s Business Partnership Initiative, codifying the distribution of Maine transportation funds as a public-private relationship in which there is no central planning for state needs. Instead funds are distributed on a first- come, first-serve basis to the public-private relationships with the most cash in hand. Connecting the dots, a group to whom coastal villages are becoming increasingly attractive is the public-private hegemony.

An analysis of the state law for distribution of transportation funds shows that it advantages communities with private developers over communities with the most need. Any community can be portrayed as having serious problem such as the occasional pedestrian crossing the road or intersections of any type. The video does this well through its choice of narrator.

Under MaineDOT’s Business Partnership Initiative  there is no function for prioritizing the greatest needs in our state until it involves repeat distributions to the same community. Traditionally, making state-wide assessments is the role of state government. Since the seventies, government by and for the people has been incrementally replaced with government by and for public private relationships. The justification used in  The Governor’s Task Force report of 1976 for instituting government by public-private relationships was the need for capital. Period. Capital accumulation through any means continues to be the dominating factor to this day. Rhetoric in the DOT code, pertaining to other factors has little standing by virtue of fact that the funds are distributed on a first come fist serve basis and communities bringing the greatest percentage of local funds are the most likely to receive funding,
Project Selection/Eligibility MaineDOT will continuously accept project applications and eligible projects will be selected on a first come first serve basis. Additional project selection/eligibility factors
include the following:
Additional project selection/eligibility factors include the following:
  • Economic Development & Job Creation: Preference will be given to projects that increase roadway capacity and allow for job growth and facilitate economic development.
  • Safety: The improvement will impact a direct safety need such as infrastructure improvements that address an area with a high crash history or potential for hazardous conditions.
  • Customer Benefit: Preference will be given to projects based on the amount and degree of benefit that travelers will realize from the benefit. 
  •  Degree of Betterment: Projects that provide a greater infrastructure benefit than others such as increasing capacity/mobility and reducing maintenance costs will be given a higher priority. 
  • Percentage of Local Match: The greater the percentage of non-MaineDOT funding, the greater the likelihood the project will be selected. 
  • Prior BPI Awards: MaineDOT will seek to fund eligible projects in all interested municipalities prior to issuing multiple grants to the same one. (emphasis added)
The media consistently reports on projects financed by public-private relationships as if the private partners are the benefactors of the public sector. The public is encouraged to vote for a project because of the private money which can be accessed for the project- or the state money- or the federal money, as if all government money is free money, when in fact it all comes from taxpayers somewhere in the state or the nation. In this case every community in Maine, even those with greater needs than Boothbay, will be pitching in their fair share to finance the Boothbay Round About, because Boothbay is lucky enough to have Mr Coulombe putting us at the head of the line in the states first-come-with-the-highest-amount-of-money-in-hand, first-serve, transportation funds distribution process. As typical with most of our economic development laws codified since the Longley administration, it benefits the wealthiest among us. We will probably never know to what degree the deal benefits Mr Coulombe because state economic code is written as separate but interlinking parts. We will not know if or how Mr Coulombes tax accountant takes advantage of the Seed Capital Refundable Tax Credit worth up to 60% of an investment.That information is protected by tax privacy laws.

The way the system is designed is found in a nutshell in the  The Governor’s Task Force report of 1976, which paired a 100% tax exemption for all investment companies investing in Maine small businesses with a 50% tax credit, This was the era when refundable tax credits were first coming into use in the USA and the Longley board was quick to jump on the band wagon. A refundable tax credit means if no taxes are owed, the people owe the holder a cash payment. The pairing of a 100% tax exemption with a refundable tax credit is the equivalency of the taxpayers underwriting 50% of an investors investment, while all of the profit is retained by the investor. The statute for the Maine Capital Corporation, a private investment company chartered by the Maine Legislature has been repealed but the 100% tax exemption remains in place.

The Governor’s Task Force report of 1976, had only two recommendations, one being to create the Maine Capital Corporation and the other was this:

2, eliminate the requirement for a local referendum on municipal bond issues. -Governor’s Task Force for Economic Redevelopment-1976

There are a number of ways in which the second goal has been achieved in the years since but the primary means of doing so is to organize municipalities into regions and to institute a regional board in place of an elected government. The JECD is one such example. It was not voted into being by the inhabitants of the two municipalities. Instead it was decided upon by the town selectmen of both towns. Throughout my conversation with Wendy Wolf as the spokesperson for the JECD, she denied that the JECD had any authority and that it was working under the selectmen. She never mentioned that she is Chairwoman of the Boothbay Harbor Selectmen, portraying herself as a volunteer.

The worst example in the state of municipalities losing their right to a public referendum is the Kennebec Regional Development Authority chartered in 1997, (Angus King Administration) as a regional development corporation under Private and Special Law section of Maine statutes.
Sec. 1 Kennebec Regional Development Authority established; incorporation; purposes The territory, cities, towns and plantations that on the effective date of this Act comprise the so-called Kennebec Valley Economic Development District, or any combination of such cities, towns and plantations, constitute a body politic and corporate to be known as the Kennebec Regional Development Authority, referred to in this Act as the "authority," for the benefit and welfare of the inhabitants thereof and to:…. 
This is the most shocking story that I uncovered in my research. I covered it in Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production in the chapter titled To Be or Not to Be Sovereign.

This brings us to reason #2 for establishing a charter for the Town of Boothbay. Currently with no charter. the town selectmen define their own parameters of power. A town charter can establish those parameters



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Should Boothbay have a Town Charter?


I have been trying to determine when Boothbay ordinances governing businesses in the home were changed. Unlike state statutes, adaptations in Boothbay town ordinances do not have dates. I believe significant changes were made between 2007 and 2014. This  speculation is based on the discrepancy between the introductory paragraphs describing the governing philosophy of the ordinances, and the actual zoning ordinances, lending the impression that they were written at different historical times.

The introductory description expresses a reasonable and pro-economic approach to policy which is not consistent the governing ordinances which prohibit the growth of home occupations by limiting non-family "employees or subcontractors" to two or three. I cannot find the words stating that the ordinances are intended for home occupations having little effect on the neighbor hood.

In January 2014 I went to the town office to pick up a DBA form and learned about the restrictive ordinances governing businesses in the home. I reported my experience on this blog, and in the process recorded the language of the ordinance, as it was at that time. It is probable that the words used to identify activities done for pecuniary gain, in the privacy of one's home, "have minimal customer traffic and use no process or equipment that could alter the residential character of the property or adversely affect neighboring property owners", were removed during the May 2014 amendment process. The absence of these words in the current record is likely the result of the method used to change the town ordinances, which is to delete the language, leaving no record of what once existed.
  • This brings us to the first point in favor of creating a Town Charter. An argument for such a charter is that a charter could establish a method of revising the ordinances based on the method used for revising state statutes, which record the date of every change and strikes through deleted language so that one can see what was deleted. Accurate historical records provide future generations an understanding of what occurred and enable voters to identify the policies supported by politicians.
 In 2013, the Town of Boothbay shut down boatbuilder, David Simpson at considerable financial loss to the builder all because a couple of neighbors complained about noise. Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, Mr Simpson is pictured in the Boothbay Register working on his roof, which he was allowed to do while he was not allowed to build his boats. There is likely a similar level of noise associated with repairing a roof or mowing the lawn as there is in building a boat. It was the decision of the board of selectmen to give priority to a neighbor's complaint over Mr Simpson's livelihood. The decision didn't necessarily resolve the neighbors noise issue, but it did close down Mr Simpson's business. Mr Simpson had been building boats on his property for thirty years and should have been grandfathered in, but, as reported, there is an ordinance that says if the business is locally inactive for one year, it cancels the grandfathered status. Mr Simpson has spent one year away and so the town claimed his grandfathered status had been cancelled. I haven't read that ordinance. nor am I a lawyer. However it is general knowledge that there is a governing principal that says municipal ordinances cannot override state law. I quoted the state grandfathering law in a recent blog post. or you can read the complete statute here.

The story of the Boothbay town selectmen closing down Mr Simpson's boat building business is now a part of the internet record. Any one considering setting up a boat building enterprise in Maine will come across it. Boat building is one of a maritime village's year round occupations.

In 2015, the town started planning a new comprehensive plan for the area. Survey results produced this response:




“Non-residents were much more strongly in favor of protecting residential areas from nonresidential
development . . . .”
This defines a fundamental class conflict. Is Boothbay to be re-prioritized as a community for retirement and vacation homes, or will it be a community that welcomes and accommodates those seeking a year round residence allowing an individualistic life style- such as that of the designer craftsmen, including ship builders like Mr Simpson?

Current ordinance policies seem to be designed to limit the growth of the latter class of citizens. A contributing factor in such a direction may be Boothbay's close proximity to the taxpayer subsidized city state of MRRA. 'City state' is a shortened term I use to signify the municipality which serves as an instrument of the state- a new legal concoction invented by the Maine Legislature. As I wonder how any group can act as a legal representative of the town of Boothbay if the town is not a municipal corporation, I also wonder how a municipal corporation can be chartered by the Maine Legislature to serve as an instrument of the state. My understanding is that the reason for forming a municipal corporation is to authorize a legal entity which can represent the municipality.

A municipal corporation is a city, town, village, or 
borough that has governmental powers. 
A municipality is a city, town,village, or, in some states, a borough. A corporation is an entity capable of conducting business. Cities, towns, villages, and some boroughs are called municipal corporations because they have the power to conduct business with the private sector.
Generally, the authority to govern the affairs within a 
state rests with the state legislature, the governor, 
and the state judicial system. However, states give 
localities limited powers to govern their own areas. 
The origin of the municipal corporation varies from state to state. Municipal corporations are given the 
power to govern through either the state constitution or state statutes, or through the legislative grant of a 
charter.The Free Dictionary

A reason to form a municipality serving as an instrument of the state is so that the local community can be subsidized by state and federal tax payer dollars, all of which are invested in the municipal boundaries of the town of MRRA. If the town of MRRA is a regional development authority, so is every other town, since this attribution has no justification beyond the alleged trickle down effect. Statistics show that incomes in regions surrounding the town of MRRA are on par with the rest of the state, while incomes in the town of MRRA, a major target of Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions, soar above its neighbors. This is statistically documented in my book, Public Private Relationships and the New Owners of the Means of Production.

The term "economic development" has joined the club of other terms, such as "public benefit" and "job creation" to be used as a rubric under which all kinds of disparate activities can be collectively and uniformly classified. When considering the use of the term "economic development" it is important to distinguish if its meaning pertains to a development corporation, which can be in the form of government, public-private, or private,- or does "economic development" represent a service assisting the overall economy of a community - a good example of that being found on the website for the maritime town of Belfast, Maine

Discussion to be continued in next blog post- click Follow to keep updated,

UPDATE At the May 2014, the town voted to allow David Simpson to continue his business:

There were other questions about the zoning changes proposed by the planning board, including allowing mineral extraction from the Industrial Park district, building warehouses in the commercial district and extending structure height along Country Club Road. Article 28 also passed which changes the zoning ordinances in a residential district to allow local boat builder David Stimson to resume his business under the definitions of commercial fishing and maritime activities. Boothbay Register


UPDATE: Since writing the above, I found Boothbay ordinances from 2008, The restrictions on the number of employees to two or three is included- but does not include subcontractors. The language stating that any activity done for pecuniary gain  in the privacy of the home requires approval from the selectmen, and the language stating that the requirements apply to activities which have little effect on the neighborhood, are not found. The language states with specificity that "1.8.3.1 Home Occupations The Town should allow residents to operate small businesses and services in their homes as long as measures are taken to minimize adverse impacts on neighboring property owners from noise, traffic, parking, odors, hazardous materials, pollution, lighting and electrical or electronic interference." and "10.11.3 Home occupations shall not be permitted within a mobile home park except those conducted by occupants entirely within a mobile home with no direct customer contact within the park.". The language I came across in 2014 was written in such a way as to apply to anyone in Boothbay selling items on Ebay or creating a product to be sold in another location which is inclusive of such activities as backing a cake or knitting a hat, writing a book or an article, which would be otherwise allowed if not done for pecuniary gain, making the act of earning a living the violation but not the activity in and of itself.