Hulit gets promoted and tales of tax credits & the frozen tundra

Hey readers! Took last week off to head north to my hometown of Madawaska to find winter with the family – turns out winter found us!

There were a few biz news items last week that popped up that I wanted to highlight (beyond big news like the Worcester/Bean’s lawsuit, the pending closure of the Mr. Paperback chain and more). So consider this an “In Case You Missed It” column, or ICYMI – which, for some reason, always makes me think of frozen yogurt.

One big piece of news that I didn’t see anywhere: Jeanne Hulit, the regional administrator of the Small Business Administration, has officially been named the SBA’s associate administrator at the Office of Capital Access.

She had been acting in that capacity since last December, and was officially appointed to the position last week. In that role, Hulit manages the SBA’s programs and operations that are designed to expand access to capital to the nation’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

According to her official bio with the office:

Responsibilities include the agency’s loan, microloan program and investment programs, credit risk management, secondary market activity and managing financial operations centers. Jeanne is also responsible for advising the SBA administrator and overseeing, within the Office of Capital Access, the agency’s reforms to make it more responsive to both borrowers and lenders.

 

Hulit, a Mainer, had been the regional administrator since 2009. Prior, she was senior VP for commercial lending at Citizens Bank, and had worked for KeyBank previously.

Mainers traditionally hold that regional post for the SBA, and are generally nominated by the state’s two U.S. senators, and then appointed by the president.

Robert H. Nelson, the Massachusetts district director for the SBA, is filling in as acting regional administrator. It is relatively late in President Obama’s first term, so it was unclear if a new appointment might be officially named this year, or if that will wait until after November, when the presidential election takes place.

And, in other Frozen Yogurt — er, I mean,  ICYMI – news:

Remember that big brouhaha over Kestrel Aircraft Co. not getting enough (in their estimation) New Market Tax Credits from Coastal Enterprises Inc.? When the financing they had hoped for didn’t come through, Kestrel decided to site its main manufacturing in Superior, Wisc., instead of Brunswick, Maine.

The administration at Brunswick Landing, where Kestrel had planned to grow hundreds of jobs, had applied to be able to allocate New Market tax credits.

Turns out, Brunswick Landing didn’t get that authority.

In a release last week, Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was happy that CEI was allocated $95 million in the tax credits. She wasn’t happy, however, that Brunswick Landing got zilch.

Said Snowe, in the release:

While I am pleased that CEI will receive an award, I am disappointed that the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority was not provided a NMTC allocation.  As the state and federally recognized entity responsible for the transformation of the recently closed 3,300-acre Naval Air Station in Brunswick, MRRA’s efforts to attract job-generating businesses to the former Naval base would have been significantly bolstered by a New Markets Tax Credit allocation.  As a result, I will continue to work with the U.S. Treasury to try to make this valuable financing tool available to MRRA in future funding rounds.”

The LePage administration had also talked about seeking some control over those allocations, or getting allocations to a organization it had influence over, as is the case in some states. It looks like that didn’t happen, either – but that may be on the drawing board for next year’s allocations.

So what are these NMTC allocations all about? According to Snowe’s office:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund administers the NMTC Program.  The CDFI Fund’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and promote community development investments for underserved populations and in distressed communities in the United States.  The 2011 NMTC funding announced today totals $3.6 billion in allocations to 70 organizations nationwide.

 

Snowe and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., last year co-sponsored the New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act to reauthorize the NMTC program authority, which expired at the end of 2011. That act has not been passed – yet.

And in Frozen Tundra news:

 

So in case you were missing winter, I found it last week in Madawaska. There was a good two feet of snow on the ground at the beginning of the week, and a snowstorm Friday night and Saturday morning added another 20 or so inches.

That’s good news for the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race that’s coming up this weekend – it’s a big sporting and, frankly, economic event for Northern Maine, and the BDN will be covering it from top to bottom. Here’s a little preview and review by my BDN colleague Julia Bayly – a musher herself!

It’s also good news for the critical snowmobile economy – that part of the state gets a real boost over the winter from folks coming from all over to use the excellent trails that run throughout Aroostook.

On the way back downstate Sunday, I saw more than 20 vehicles pulling snow machine trailers north – not too shabby!