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Maine Legislature Approves More than $69 Million for Science and Technology

June 09, 2000

The Second Session of the 119th Maine Legislature proved to be another watershed event for the state's science and technology sector. More than 20 percent of Maine's appropriated surplus budget was dedicated to increased monies for existing science and technology programs as well as substantial investment in new initiatives. The programs that the Legislature voted to fund include:

  • Maine Biomedical Research Program: $10 million to create the Maine Biomedical Research Fund, which will provide funding to existing not-for-profit biomedical research laboratories to expand and update facilities and purchase new equipment. The fund will also be used to build new biomedical research facilities.
  • Maine Learning Technology Endowment: $30 million for an  endowment to integrate technology into the classroom. This measure grew out of Governor Angus King’s “Lunchboxes to Laptops” proposal that called for an endowment to put laptop computers in the hands of every 7th grade student in Maine. A task force will be appointed to develop a “learning technology plan” that will – upon adoption by the 120th Legislature – determine the uses for the endowed fund. An additional $20 million may be transferred into the fund if excess general revenue funds exist at the end of the current fiscal year.
  • Maine Applied Technology Center System: $5.5 million for creation of a network of self-managed, state-coordinated business incubators. The network is intended to stimulate technology companies involved in 

    biotechnology, marine science, precision manufacturing, composite materials, environmental technologies, information technologies, and advanced technologies in forestry and agriculture. Four centers are included in the appropriation.
  • University of Maine Science and Technology Related Expansion: more than $20 million to upgrade technology and facilities at the campuses. The funds will be used to expand classroom and laboratory space. The improvements are intended to attract additional students in the science and engineering fields.
  • Maine Patent Program: $300,000 to support technology commercialization and manufacturing of innovations through the University of Maine School of Law's Center for Advanced Technology Law and Management. This program will allow for innovation screenings for patent applications, patent searches, and patent application preparations.
  • Evaluation of Maine's State-Sponsored Research and Development: $145,000 for the Maine Science and Technology Foundation (MSTF) to prepare an evaluation of the state's research and development activities.
  • Small Enterprise Growth Fund: An additional $3 million was appropriated to the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) Small Enterprise Growth Fund. This fund provides venture capital to entrepreneurs in the state. The funding will support increased investment in biotechnology, manufacturing, exporting, software development, and environmental sciences.
  • Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit Program: As an amendment to the current program, the Legislature increased the allowable tax credit for companies investing in technology business ventures. The cap now stands at 50 percent of the total amount invested in technology business ventures as allowable for state tax credits. In addition, the total cap on allowable investments was raised from $200,000 per investor to $500,000 per investor.

For additional information, please contact Joel Russ or Michael Ryan with the Maine Science and Technology Foundation at (207) 621-6350.

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