[NEWS] Maine Governor Will Oppose Borrowing Aimed at Helping Biomass Industry
– by Scott Thistle, January 10, 2018, Portland Press Herald
Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he opposes a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry.
In a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, LePage said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands.
The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.
“They took the state subsidy for two years and now at the end of two years if you don’t give them a subsidy they are going to close,” LePage said of the previous bailout that largely went to help one company and the loggers who supplied it. “I call that corporate welfare at the worst, it can’t get any worse than that because they are coming in and they are telling you up front the only way they can survive is by you giving them a subsidy.”