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February 2, 2018

State lawmaker questions tax breaks for Carbonite

A tax break offered to a company with operations in Lewiston came under fire from a state lawmaker.

The Sun Journal reported that state Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, called into question Carbonite's continued tax break, even as the site's employment dwindles.

Carbonite, which is receiving incentives under the Pine Tree Investment Zone program, has seen its Lewiston employment decline as it has added jobs at a site in Jamaica, the Sun Journal reported.

Libby called on the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to review the situation.

Carbonite, which is based in Boston, offers server backup and data protection strategies. In Lewiston, it has a tech support call center.

Carbonite receives 80% of Maine state income tax withholdings on qualified employees for 10 years, according to published reports. Workers included under the provision must be full-time and earn above-average wages to qualify.

At one time, Carbonite had 368 employees at the Lewiston site, but that may now be closer to 180, the Sun Journal reported.

A Carbonite spokesman disputed the notion that the company was not committed to Lewiston. Norman Guadagno, a senior vice president of marketing, said jobs have been lost through attrition and voluntary departures, and in some cases involuntary departures, but any change in workforce numbers "is in no way a reflection of a diminished commitment to the Lewiston facility."

The Pine Tree Investment Program is in its final year, though a bill is in the Legislature that could extend the incentive program.

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