In my local community, a recent article in the Boothbay Register, Business incubator a fresh idea for JEDC reports that Roger Ferrell, a church pastor, with a background in developing a non-profit economic development organization called bGEN in South Carolina, spoke with the JECD (joint economic development council). The Minutes for the Boothbay Harbor Selectmen's meeting, January 14, 2019 tells a slightly different story as it reports that bGen is not just Mr Ferrell's background but that "bGEN (is) a new business incubator program in collaboration with the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce".
The Camoin Report, a master plan for the peninsula, was commissioned by the JECD, a self-styled local public-private development group with a mission to be joint economic development planner for all four towns on the Boothbay Peninsula, Maine. The report recommends that the JECD hire an economic development consultant at 79000.00 per year paid for by the taxpayers of all four municipalities, even if the municipalities cannot afford it, but lately the JECD has not been so loud mouthed about Southport and Edgecomb not paying their fair share to finance the JEDC's economic development agenda.
Farrell and the Chamber have been speaking with Bigelow Labs and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and have begun forming relationships with Boothbay Region Community Resource Council (est 2014), Maine Technology Initiative (MTI), Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98, and America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).
An alternate conception of a business incubator originates in the sectors of the economy excluded from the above, the free enterprise sector, including Andersen Design.
The businesses invited into the council hearkens back to the board formed by Governor Longley when he was instituting the centrally managed economy, with a twist. Governor's Longley's group were the CEO'S and owners of Maine's most prosperous free enterprise industries. The business included in the new local business incubator are the most well funded non-profits in the region. Not even the region's world class ship yards have been invited to the council, a startling testimony to the narrow swath of local society that the JECD-Chamber-bGen business incubator recognizes as having economic development merit.Why would we not want a diverse economy on our peninsula? The probable answer is that the source of targeted funding is a grant via the State's Industrial Partnerships Act
Noticeably missing from the invitees to the new JECD -Chamber-bGEN Business incubator, in addition to small local entrepreneurs, are local developer, Paul Coulombe, and nearby CEI, a extremely well funded economic development organization in Brunswick, in close proximity to MTI.
CEI is competition but the absence of Paul Coulombe, small local local entrepreneurs, and significant industries of the region, supports the speculation that JECD is not a local economic development group, but a state central management planted in Boothbay to carry out the mission of the State's 2013 Act, Industrial Partnerships. One might observe that there are many towns starting local economic development councils and wonder if all paths lead to Industrial Partnerships, the givers of redistributed wealth to those municipalities which will perform Industrial Partnerships mission, which includes re-purposing public education as job training for state approved careers and instituting "English as a second language." Paul Coulombe would be excluded because Industrial Partnerships only counts year-round job creators in "qualified industries". Others would be excluded because the State's concept of economic development is narrowly focused on new tech, thus the presence of MTI. Nonprofit social organizations are included because Industry Partnerships encompasses the Department of Health and Human Services. Every level of society is to be implemented in training for the State's industrial army, serving the benefit of its private partners, incidentally of course, to the public benefit, as long as the public is exclusive to those individuals who are willing to form their lives to state specifications, as we edge ever closer to total fascism. The functions of the groups invited to council correspond to the functions outlined in Industry Partnerships.
Paragraphs in Boothbay Town Report of 2015, are copied word for word, from the 2013 Act, Industrial Partnerships.
Chapter 39: MAINE INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS
[ .]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.
§3304. Industry partnerships 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).] (emphasis added)
Boothbay Comprehensive Plan of 2015
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. (emphasis added)
When I thought of the core idea of my plan, so many years ago, I did not think of it as a politically radical idea to conceive of a network of ceramic studios, independently owned by the makers with whom we would form independent contractor relationships. The inspiration for my idea was that I needed people as dedicated as I am to this purpose and felt that owning one's own business creates the kind of dedication I hope to find. My idea is a network, but not a centrally owned network. Each studio has its own sovereignty, but our assets, developed over 67 years can be used to mutual benefit.
According to the Camoin Report and other rhetoric put forth by local economic development resources, Andersen Design should be able to find the kind of support we need locally. With the remarkable exception of private individuals who have helped us with genuine Christianity, there has been no significant local support for our business forthcoming. Andersen Design, throughout its history has taken the road less traveled, which is to say, today, that we took the alternatives turns in the road than that which created the global world order, evolving into a global corporate state as in Maine's 2017 Act, Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act, enacted just in time for the Amazon contest for new headquarters.
Jeff Bezos, creator of Amazon, is the richest man in the world. The Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act offers global corporations, which locate headquarters in Maine, a 2% refundable tax credit on its unitary capital investments. Unitary has the legal meaning of not restricted by borders, just anywhere in the world, so if Bezos were to locate Amazon in Maine, he could be assured of continuing to get richer with at least 16 million dollars of free capital at his disposal. In fact Maine could not compete with the 3 billion dollars in corporate welfare offered to the richest man on the globe by New York City. Why haven't our Maine economic development masters figured that one out, and tried another tact? Amazon is known for ruthless business tactics used to eliminate competition, and yet when the Maine Legislature passed the Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act, it was blithely justified by an unfounded finding, claiming it is in the best interest of the people of the state of Maine:
Sec. 4. Legislative findings, purpose. The Legislature finds that it is in the best interest of the people of the State of Maine to encourage the location and expansion of major business headquarters in the State and to encourage the recruitment and training of employees for these facilities. The Legislature further finds that the location and expansion of major business headquarters in Maine will create jobs, benefit small businesses that supply goods and services to the major business headquarters and its employees, increase the tax base and provide many other direct and indirect economic benefits to the State.
The purpose of this credit is to create high-quality jobs in the State by encouraging major businesses to locate their headquarters in this State or to expand their headquarters in the State Major Business Headquarters Expansion Act of 2017 in Maine, sponsored by Governor LePage
Let us not forget that when the public-private state was instituted in Maine, in the 1970's, under Governor Longley, the fastest growing sector of the Maine economy was the small business sector employing up to 100 people. The justification for instituting the corporate state was to help Maine's small business economy find the capital it needed, but was disadvantaged by larger companies. Instead the real aim of the centrally managed economy was to replace Maine's small business economy with large corporations which have ready access to capital, much of it for free, as exemplified by the Major Business Headquarters Act of 2017.
The Legislature finds that one of the limiting factors on the beneficial economic development of the State is the limited availability of capital for the long-term needs of Maine businesses and entrepreneurs. In particular, the lack of equity capital to finance new business ventures and the expansion or recapitalization of existing businesses is critical. This lack of equity capital may prevent worthwhile businesses from being established; it may also force businesses to use debt capital where equity capital would be more appropriate. This creates debt service demands which a new or expanding venture may not be able to meet successfully, causing the venture to fail because of the lack of availability of the appropriate kind of capital.The Governor's Task Force of 1976Since the 1980's the globalization of the economy has resulted in a decline in new businesses launched. Maine's Department of Economic and Community Development was created in 1987. About year ago, I posted the DECD findings statement on my blog, observing that the purpose of the DECD, according to its findings statement, is to facilitate the global economy, not the local economy. Upon searching for the DECD findings statement, today, I discovered it has been repealed, without a trace, since I published it on this blog about a year ago. It had been in place for thirty years. No findings statement replaces it, but the record of it still exists on this blog, and it should be available on request from the Maine Legislative Library. There was once a time when repealed laws were published with a strike-out line over them, so that one could still read them, but today they are erased. This is what the repealed text said:
§13051. Legislative findings (Department of Economic and Community Development)
The Legislature finds that the State's economy is linked to the national and international economies. Economic changes and disruptions around the world and in the nation have a significant impact upon the State's economy. The rise of 3rd-world and 4th-world countries as manufacturers of commodities for mass markets and the gradual evolution of the national economy to a technological, informational, specialty product-based economy have significantly affected the State and its communities. [RR 2013, c. 2, §5 (COR).]
In order for the State's economy to grow and gain a solid footing, it is necessary to determine the State's assets and the economic opportunities that are or will be available to the State's enterprise, municipalities and labor force. When these opportunities are determined or become apparent, state economic development policies and programs must be focused on facilitating the realization of these opportunities and removing barriers that impede the exploitation of these opportunities. [1987, c. 534, Pt. A, §§17, 19 (NEW).] (emphasis mine)
The Legislature finds that an economic development strategy designed to focus the State's economic development activities and resources on economic opportunities can significantly help the State and its municipalities realize greater growth and prosperity without adversely affecting the quality of life in the State. An economic development strategy must recognize and reflect the different needs, conditions and opportunities of the several different economic regions of the State. This strategy must be flexible and periodically evaluated to make it consistent with changes in conditions and opportunities that arise during these times of dynamic change. It is necessary to involve municipalities, regional economic development organizations and the private sector in the formulation of this strategy in order to establish a well-developed and comprehensive plan that has the support of the State's citizens and officials. [1987, c. 534, Pt. A, §§17, 19 (NEW).]As a designer craftsman with an economic vision of my own, the paragraphs copied from Industrial Partnerships, and the corresponding town ordinances are detrimental to development in my industry, in which the home-business life style is often the preferred working environment. Even more specifically to our own brand, individuality is part of our identity. I envisioned the network to accommodate a line too large for a small studio to produce, without sacrificing the small studio environment which is conducive for the quality of results we want to achieve. If local governance is usurped by Industry Partnerships, becoming instead an instrument of the state, the function of local government becomes moot, as local economic development excludes local resources inconsistent with the special interests of the State's global economic agenda.
Threat to liberty and democracy.
Economists have recently begun to document a link between corporate concentration and rising inequality. Dominant companies, they’re finding, are funneling the spoils to a small number of people at the top. And by reducing the number of their competitors, these companies are also making it harder for workers to get a fair wage and for producers to get a fair price. A particularly troubling data point in this research is the loss of a long-standing pathway to a middle-class life: starting a business. The number of new firms launched each year has fallen by nearly two-thirds since 1980, and many economists believe that corporate power is to blame. This lack of start-ups is fueling a broader decline in the ranks of small business: Between 2005 and 2015, the number of small retailers fell by 85,000, a drop of 21 percent relative to population. Amazon Doesn’t Just Want to Dominate the Market—It Wants to Become the Market By Stacy Mitchell for The Nation
All that is needed to make the case that the JECD is the instrument of the State, and not in truth a local economic development organization, is to read the Industrial Partnerships statute.
§3305. Industry partnership grant program1. 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) .]
The Boothbay Register article reports that the JECD wants to have have business incubators all over the peninsula. The existing policy of the JECD is intentionally exclusive, as I learned when I approached Wendy Wolf with the concept of a museum for which Andersen Design had been approved for fiscal sponsorship. She gave no response to my pitch but said that the JECD can do nothing to help individual businesses. Why then, is the JECD trying to establish incubators all over the peninsula. I submit it is because their current financing plan is to get an Industry Partnership grant.
The three businesses included in the Chamber-JECD-bGen pow-wow are all super funded non-profits but MTI is in a special class by itself as a public charity for private capitalists chartered by special act of legislation in violation of Article IV Part Third Section 14 of the Maine Constitution:
Section 14. Corporations, formed under general laws. Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State.
The only argument, I have ever heard given in defense of State-chartered corporations, is that they are non-profits, as if the Constitution makes a distinction between for-profit corporations and non-profit corporations, which it does not, but even if it did, MTI is structured by statute, simultaneously, as a public-private relationship, functioning as a non-profit, a public institution, and a private for-profit interest. MTI may be a public charity but the board is authorized to make a profit and to own intellectual property rights and so the board has to be an private entity subcontracting with the non-profit public charity, MTI. This is not specifically stated in the statute but how could it be otherwise?
1 Establishment The Maine Technology Institute, as established in section 12004-G, subsection 33-D, is a nonprofit corporation with public and charitable purposes. The duties, activities and operations of the institute are within the provisions of the federal Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3).[ 1999, c. 401, Pt. AAA, §3 (NEW).]
2;Purpose The institute, through a public and private partnership, shall encourage, promote, stimulate and support research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products and services in the State's technology-intensive industrial sectors to enhance the competitive position of those sectors and increase the likelihood that one or more of the sectors will support clusters of industrial activity and to create new jobs for Maine people. The institute is one element of the State's economic development strategy and will contribute to the long-term development of a state wide research, development and product deployment infrastructure. [ 1999, c. 401, Pt. AAA, §3 (NEW).]
§15303-A.2.Organization.The board has all the powers and authority, not explicitly prohibited by law, necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the functions, duties and responsibilities of the fund, including, but not limited to:
G. Owning intellectual property, licensing intellectual property and negotiating for and collecting royalty rights or otherwise realizing a return on investment made under the fund and all programs of the institute when appropriate in order to promote the interests and investments of the State in furthering science and technology; and [2003, c. 20, Pt. RR, §7 (NEW); 2003, c. 20, Pt. RR, §18 (AFF).]
Note the careful parsing of that last paragraph. On a skim it may come across that the licensing of intellectual property rights and negotiating for royalties is for the purpose of protecting Maine State Inc's financial interests but that is not actually what it says. It is the board which is permitted to own intellectual property rights and negotiate for royalties, justified as furthering science and technology -not financial interests- of the state, or the public. The words are specific. The board can own intellectual property rights, negotiate for royalties, and otherwise realize a return on investment from the fund.
The statute for MTI instructs the organization to inform the applicants of all the other programs, that means the Pine Tree Zones, where up to 100% tax exemptions are applied, and the Seed Capital (Refundable) Tax Credit, worth 50% of the capitalist investment, and the MTI matching fund. Do the math to see the possibilities in the combination.
Breaking News! Janet Mills is expanding tax payer funding going the the MTI Charity for private capitalists:
Another area where Gov. Mills’ budget demonstrates a support for innovation is in how it treats the budget for the Maine Technology Institute.
While MTI’s baseline budget amount has been fairly consistent each year (around $7 million), the last two biennial budgets contained curtailment language that required MTI to return $1.5 million in FY16 and again in FY17 and $750,000 in each of FY18 and FY19. So, over the past 4 years, MTI experienced a total reduction in funding of $4.5 million
Gov. Mills’ proposed budget does not contain that curtailment language, so for the first time in several years MTI will have its full funding allocation at its disposal.
Maine Startup Insiders Feb 24 2019