The big deals that won LePage’s favor for tax breaks
Gov. Paul LePage’s selection of 32 areas of the state for new federal tax breaks reads like a map of big business deals to be done. He planned it that way.
LePage’s administration said its picks of Opportunity Zones around the state were driven by the potential for successful new investments. Public comments filed to request those designations shed light on some of the major projects LePage hopes will come to fruition.
They include a plan from J.D. Irving, the state’s largest landowner, to rezone and develop camps and commercial properties on 51,000 acres of Aroostook County property, called the Fish River Chain of Lakes region, a project it unveiled in May.
Selection of that area also enabled LePage to pick neighboring Madawaska, home to Twin Rivers Paper; however, the paper producer said it does not have any specific plans to use the tax program, and no public comment was submitted to request selection of the border town.
They also include plans of a company called Northern Farms LLC to build a 2.5-acre hydroponic greenhouse in Madison and potentially another in Rumford, where LePage picked two tracts as Opportunity Zones. The company is backed by the Northern Venture Fund, set up in late 2017 by energy consultant Evan Coleman, according to state records.