Gov. Mills approves bill creating new tax giveaways for the Portland Sea Dogs


On April 22, Governor Janet Mills signed into law LD 2258, “An Act to Create and Income Tax Credit for Investments in a Team’s Qualified Minor League Baseball Facility to Keep the Team in the State.” The law establishes a new corporate welfare scheme that will exclusively benefit the parent company of the Portland Sea Dogs. 

The refundable tax credit created under the law will allow the organization to recoup up to $133,000 per year beginning in tax year 2025 for a total of 15 years. Maine taxpayers will now foot the bill for a portion of the team’s renovations for more than a decade so the franchise can “keep” its affiliation Major League Baseball. 

But the title of the bill itself is a misnomer to begin with, as the Sea Dogs were never going anywhere. The team enjoys the 18th-highest average rate of attendance in the country among minor league baseball teams. The Sea Dogs parent company, Diamond Baseball Holdings, also owns 28 other minor league teams across the nation. To suggest this company needed assistance from Maine taxpayers to upgrade its facilities is a laughable notion. The company could easily fund the renovations if they wanted, but they’d rather you and I pick up a portion of the bill.

Instead of relying on taxpayers, the team simply could have added an additional 33 cents to the cost of a ticket over the next 15 years to raise money equivalent to the value of the new credit established under the law.

Rather than piling on new and narrow carveouts in Maine tax law that benefit only a select number of businesses, Maine could truly transform its economy by eliminating its corporate welfare programs altogether. 

It’s estimated that Maine doled out more than $27 million in corporate incentives in 2022, and nearly $1 billion dating back to 1995. A study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows the extent to which the elimination of all corporate welfare programs in Maine would allow lawmakers to lower corporate income taxes, personal income taxes, or sales taxes and still support current levels of state spending. The chart below details what kind of tax savings all Mainers or Maine businesses could realize through the elimination of corporate welfare. 

Now ask yourself: What would be more transformative to Maine’s economy–tax incentives to a small number of corporations, or cutting the corporate income tax rate for all corporations by 25%? Cutting rates to the corporate income tax, personal income tax, or state sales tax would do far more to improve Maine’s economy and create than the state’s expansive corporate welfare regime.